The offices of Robotoki, the indie studio founded by former mouthpiece of the blockbuster Call of Duty franchise was reportedly stormed by the Los Angeles Police Department today, in what is presumed to be the latest occurrence of the juvenile prank known as swatting -- whereby a prankster anonymously contacts emergency services fabricating an armed threat at a premises to invoke a law enforcement response, which usually comes in the form of a police SWAT team that is obligated to treat all such tips seriously.
Mentioning the event on his heavily-followed Twitter account, Bowling explained "The LAPD just stormed @robotoki with guns drawn and detained me as they cleared the building. I blame GHOST." Ghost being one of the iconic characters of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare series, of which Robotoki has a life-sized, armed statue of in its window, over-looking the street.
Ghost is also the name of the the next upcoming game in the Call of Duty franchise, that the former Infinity Ward Creative Strategist and Community Manager no longer has any involvement in.
Bowling was likely implying the former as the cause of the police reaction, but surely even a life-size statue would need at least a 3-kill streak to trigger a SWAT deployment.
2013 has seen a disturbing resurgence in Swatting, targeting high-profile or controversial celebrities such as Sean Combes, Justin Bieber, and Russell Brand. If caught offenders have faced up to 11 years in prison for the act, although it's often perpetrated by troubled teens.
: We presumed wrong: official details provided to Polygon
have since confirmed that the police response was more innocently the result of a Robotoki staff member accidentally triggering a panic button before retiring for the day:
Bowling said the police arrived at the front of the building only to find that there was no way to get in from that side. As they moved around toward the back where Robotoki's entrance is located, the officers spotted Bowling's life-sized statue of Ghost standing at attention with his gun at the ready.
So they made entry.
"I was in my office when they arrived and saw them coming up our stairs, guns drawn," Bowling said. "They yelled for me to put my hands up and walk towards them slowly, then took me into custody and out of the studio until they cleared the rest of the rooms and floors."
Bowling said about 15 minutes later the officers emerged, laughing — they had mistaken Ghost for a real threat and had nearly taken him down.
Office security cameras captured the ordeal, and a still shot of the climactic moment was provided to Polygon, who's report explains that they had originally presumed it to be a result of miscommunication or a prank "Until we reviewed the security footage and saw our designer's curiosity to be the cause".