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Online bullies pull expensive, dangerous prank on unsuspecting homeowner

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PORTLAND, Ore. – Robert Reubendall was reading inside his home when someone’s cough caught his attention.

“They looked like they were right here, maybe sitting on the wood here, crouching, whatever. I couldn’t see it, it was dark. You could just see figures moving,” Reubendall said.

He went outside and got a glimpse of a Portland police emblem.

“One stopped and said, ‘We had a situation here. We’re using your car as protection,” he said.

All eyes were on Kyle Hart’s home.

Inside the house, Hart noticed a few missed calls on his cell phone.

“And I listen to the voice mail and he says, ‘Hey, this is, I believe, officer Harvey, of the police department. Like, where are you? Are you in the house and are you at gunpoint?” Hart said.

Hart soon learned that the police department had received a call about a hostage situation in his home.

Grace Lynn says online gamers were trying to harass her through something called ‘swatting.’

Officials say the prankster will spoof a 911 call and claim a crime is occurring at the victim’s home.

Lynn lived in the home about a year ago before moving to the Bay Area.

She speaks out publicly on social media against people who harass women in the gaming industry.

“So, I’ll look myself up on various places where people harass me just to see if they’re going to do anything more transgressive and, in this case, they did,” she said.

She found real-time posts of users plotting the so-called “swatting.”

“Because they linked to police scanners, I was able to reference that it was my old address in Portland,” she said.

The users continue to brag about the prank, even after realizing they got the wrong house.

The 35-year-old says she wanted to tell the people who did this that they cannot hide behind the veil of online forums.

“Yeah, really hope whoever did this gets caught,” Hart said.

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