A 17-year-old teenager from Andover who led a group of hackers who made fake threats nationwide, has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to juvenile detention, and was ordered into the custody of the Department of Youth Services until he is 21 years old, according to a statement said by Police.
The teenager made multiple “swatting” phone calls, using the Internet to anonymously make hoax threats, including bomb threats. The investigation began in April after multiple “swatting” calls were received in Massachusetts and several other states.
Authorities searched the teenager’s home using a dog specially trained to detect hidden electronic devices, State Police said. In the teenager’s bedroom, investigators found a special router that allows someone to anonymously connect to the internet.
State Police said that they also found online messages between the group of hackers the teenager led about bomb threats they had made. The teenager also admitted to destroying evidence just before police searched his home, State Police said.
The boy had made hoax 911 calls to Florida, New York, and Rhode Island, State Police said. He also made calls to residents in Wilmington and Woburn and to IMAX Theaters inside Jordan’s Furniture stores in Natick and Reading.
The teenager was “familiar with” bomb threats in more than a dozen locations in Massachusetts and aware of bomb threats in Little Falls, N.Y., and Spring Valley, N.Y, state police said.
The teenager pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and bomb threat charges. Prosecutors asked for a 3- to 5-year state prison sentence.