Reynoldsburg police are trying to track the origin of a 911 call made through the online service Skype that kept SWAT teams from two police departments on alert early Nov. 15.
Reynoldsburg police Lt. Ron Wright said the call at 3:20 a.m. reported that three hostages were being held at gunpoint at a home in the 1900 block of Haverton Road, off Slate Ridge Boulevard.
SWAT officers from Columbus and Reynoldsburg swarmed the house, but the call turned out to be a hoax.
"Police located and contacted the actual homeowner and determined he and his family members were not inside the home," Wright said.
He said teams watched the house for about an hour but began to suspect something was not right when the caller used Skype a second time to report he had shot himself and someone else inside the home.
The SWAT teams had heard no noises coming from the building, Wright said.
"Columbus SWAT officers entered the home and found no one inside," he said. "The situation is being investigated as a hoax and is currently ongoing."
He said the hoax put police officers and the public at risk, since officers went door-to-door in the neighborhood to alert neighbors to the possible hostage situation. He said investigators will work to track down the caller.
However, Wright said the Skype number cannot be easily traced.
"We have to use other means to find the origin of the call through bouncing IP addresses," he said. "I have our 'techno-geek' detective working on this and he will hopefully find the origin soon."