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Police: Investigation into false report in Taneytown ongoing

Police: Investigation into false report in Taneytown ongoing
Police deployed in Taneytown (DYLAN SLAGLE/STAFF PHOTO)

Police are continuing to investigate a false report of a stabbing and hostage situation in Taneytown that drew a multiagency response and locked down nearby elementary schools.

No charges had been filed as of Thursday afternoon, and investigators were running down several leads, according to trooper James Cooper of the Maryland State Police Westminster Barrack.

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A call came into the Taneytown Police Department shortly before 10 a.m. Thursday, and a man said a stabbing had occurred and people were being held hostage at a townhouse on Fairground Avenue, according to police.

When members of the Taneytown Police, Carroll County Sheriff's Office, Maryland State Police and Carroll County Crisis Response Team arrived at the scene, they contacted the homeowner and found no evidence of any criminal activity.

Rachel Proctor, the homeowner, said she received a call from a state police trooper asking if she and her family were OK and asking her to meet police at the door. Police searched the home and found no evidence of a threat.

"It used up a lot of resources [Thursday]," Cooper said.

Making a false emergency call which draws the kind of law enforcement response that Thursday's incident did is sometimes called "swatting," according to Cooper.

Swatting is usually a targeted act designed for revenge or as a prank, according to a 2013 FBI report.

"We haven't had, really, any cases out here that I know of," Cooper said Friday. A motive for Thursday's incident has not been revealed.

Swatting is not a common event in Maryland, according to Maryland State Police Spokeswoman Elena Russo.

"It doesn't seem to be a frequent occurrence," she said.

Baltimore County Police are investigating an incident Friday morning in Owings Mills in which a "possible barricade" was reported at a home but police found nothing when they arrived, according to a Baltimore Sun report.

Cooper said investigators are aware of the Baltimore County incident and have been in contact to see whether the events are related.

Anyone with information regarding Thursday's incident in Taneytown is asked to contact Cooper by calling 410-386-3000.

Reach staff writer Heather Cobun at 410-857-7898 or email heather.cobun@carrollcountytimes.com.

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