Normally when we report on a robbery at a GameStop or other electronics retailers, the perpetrators manage to escape into the night with their ill-gotten goods, never to be seen again or apprehended by police. But this San Jose Mercury News report details how Palo Alto police finally caught up with two men who allegedly robbed a Fry's Electronics of several consoles at gunpoint on Jan. 28.
A 27-year-old from Manchester, New Hampshire says he was targeted by someone online after police were sent to his home last Sunday night. Leighton Timmins, a 27-year-old who works in the IT department of a local college, says that police received a call purporting to be him and claiming that he had shot and killed his father in his apartment.
Of course he never called the police and his father was not in the residence (and quite alive somewhere else) when police entered his residence on Sunday evening.
Congresswoman Katherine Clark (D-Mass) is calling on the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice to do a better job of handling cases of online harassment - particularly those that target women. Clark took a particular interest in GamerGate and activities that have been associated with the Twitter hashtag because Boston-based developer Brianna Wu is in the district she represents.
It's Just A Harmless Prank...
Some might describe swatting, the act of making an erroneous phone call to a police department in the hopes that they will deploy a SWAT team to a specific location, as an innocuous prank. The "royal they" of the Internet note that, besides the target's pride being hurt and being mildly humiliated, swatting is harmless and funny.
It seems like some police departments are starting to understand what "swatting" is. On the night of March 6, Plymouth, Massachusetts police received a call about an undisclosed act of violence occurring at a home on Carol Boulevard in West Plymouth. Apparently familiar with other instances of fake calls, Plymouth police first dispatched a unit to confirm its suspicions that the call was fake. Checking the residence they quickly confirmed that there was nothing going on at the home.
The developer of Darkest Dungeon is urging players not to buy the Windows 8 version of the game, according to Eurogamer. Why? Because he and his company didn't put it on the platform. Red Hook Studios co-president and Darkest Dungeon designer Tyler Sigman sent out a tweet warning buyers that the Windows 8 app version available on the Windows Game Store is not an official version.
A couple from South Yorkshire, England are currently on trial for their part in giving their infant son brain damage. According to a report in The Star, the couple (who are not named) played a newly launched "Call of Duty" video game while their four-month-old son lay in his crib with a severe brain injury, according to what the court was told by prosecutors at the couple's ongoing trial.
St. Cloud, Minnesota resident Joshua Peters was swatted while running a RuneScape stream on Twitch, according to an ABC News report. Peters, a U.S. Air Force veteran was playing the browser-based MMORPG on Wednesday when he fell victim to an apparent "swatting" prank. St. Cloud Chief of Police William Anderson confirmed the incident to ABC News and said that it was currently under investigation.
In an internal memo obtained by The Verge, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo doesn't mince words when asked by an employee about the company's efforts to get rid of trolls and serial harassers from the social media platform:
Frontier Developments is wrestling with an age old question about crime and punishment as it relates to its online-focused space simulation, Elite: Dangerous. As chronicled by Kotaku, the developers of the crowd-funded game are wrestling with the best way to punish players who commit acts of murder against their fellow space traveling peers.
Electronic Arts COO Peter Moore has called out social media network Twitter for the way it handles harassment and threats after finding himself the target of some pretty egregious threats himself. It all started with a tweet from a user named "xbox_gamer87" with the profile name "Robertclarke." He tweeted at Moore:
"Hope your wife gets raped." He followed that tweet up with more of the same:
Twenty-year-old Boston man Shane Coffey has been sentenced in the UK for attempting to kill his online girlfriend and her brother in their Hook Road, Epsom, Surrey home on April 18. Coffey met 19-year-old Farha Dowlut in the online MMORPG Runescape when she was 13-years-old. They became close friends and later began dating online. Over the years they spent time gaming and chatting online. Dowlut eventually broke off the relationship because she feared that her Muslim family would not approve (because Coffey was not a Muslim).
According to news station KOMO, a Bungie executive found himself in the crosshairs of police in the early hours of November 6. A call (which later turned out be an attempt at "swatting" the Bungie executive) to Sammamish, Washington Police Department from an armed gunman claiming to have taken the residents of the Bungie executive's home hostage and demanding a ransom sent law enforcement into action.
This is mildly funny in a creepy sort of way, but it works very well for Halloween. YouTuber MrKreepyKoala decided to dress up like a serial killer and silently hunt and kill Grand Theft auto Online players. Here's the description of a short video he created called "Creepy Murderer on GTA V!"
"In this video I went into lobbies on GTA around 3 AM and started playing creepy lullaby's sung by women and children. I then went into passive mode with my radar turned off so they thought I was invincible and unaware of me being in passive mode!"
Jefferson Parish (the greater New Orleans, Louisiana) authorities are searching for two men who held a Woodmere resident at gunpoint and stole that person's debit and credit cards. The two young men (pictured, left) were later captured on surveillance cameras trying to buy games at a local video game store, according to authorities.
On October 3rd Gearbox Software CEO Randy Pitchford sent out a series of tweets - with photos - showing that someone called in a bomb threat to the company's headquarters in Dallas, Texas. While the call turned out to be a hoax, the Dallas police made sure that the areas was clear and safe before letting employees get back into the building or to their nearby vehicles.
The police department has not released details on where the call might have emanated from.
Below are Pitchford's tweets:
One transaction gone horribly wrong leads to four people having their lives ruined - with one of those lives coming to a tragic end over a video game system. That's what happened in Roswell, Georgia when two people who answered a Craigslist ad looking to sell a PlayStation 4. The owner of the PS4, 28-year-old Daniel John Zeitz put an ad on Craigslist looking to sell it.
Wesley "wolvereness" Wolfe is the latest to become victimized by a swatting prank. According to Chron, the 25-year-old programmer best known for Craftbukkit for Minecraft, was the victim of someone sending a swat team to his house, claiming that he had shot and killed his parents and was going to kill more people.
In July we reported on MineORama, a Minecraft fan gathering in New York City that was canceled at the last minute. While organizers insisted that the event was not a scam and that it would be rescheduled, organizers are showing their true colors by shutting down their Twitter account and their official website at www.mineorama.com. And while their Facebook page is still live, organizers have not made an update since early July.
Two Kansas City, Missouri residents have been charged with first-degree robbery and armed criminal action after police arrested them for stealing a video game system at gunpoint. The victim, an unidentified 40-year-old man placed an ad on Craigslist in the Kansas City area looking to sell a Playstation 3 console, two controllers and three games. He was looking to get $205.
Earlier this week we reported on CCP's efforts to catch the individuals that vandalized a real-world monument dedicated to its game EVE Online in Reykjavik, Iceland.
EVE Online makers CCP Games say that it is pursuing legal measures after discovering its recently erected Eve Online monument had been vandalized and defaced by unknown persons. The 16ft tall 'Worlds Within a World' monument was unveiled last Wednesday in Reykjavik, Iceland, to commemorate the eleven-year anniversary of the sci-fi space exploration MMO.
A Homosass, Florida man has been arrested for murdering his 16-month-old son early Thursday morning. Citrus County police arrested 24-year-old Cody Wygant and charged him with third degree murder and willful child neglect.
At around 8:20 a.m. on April 17 paramedics arrived at the suspect's home to find his 16-month old son Daymeon not breathing. The baby was pronounced dead at the hospital later that morning.
A Chicago man is being held on $1,000 bond after being arrested for allegedly continuing to play a video game for more than two hours while his two-year-old stepson suffered with a broken leg. According to the Chicago Tribune, 19-year-old Luis Matienzo would not stop playing Grand Theft Auto V - even as his stepson sat crying in a playpen because he was suffering from a broken leg.
As is usually the case with new, popular, and multiplayer-focused games, cheating is a problem that has to be dealt with as swiftly as possible, and that is just what Respawn is doing with Titanfall. Respawn said that it is keeping track of those players who are cheating and will root them all out shortly. Titanfall launched on Xbox One and PC on Tuesday.
The developer announced via Twitter that it was keeping track of anyone using aimbots to boost their kill counts and has plans to ban them soon.