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Post by Dan @ 01:40pm 31/05/13 | 11 Comments
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.

Update: 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".

robotokirobert bowlingcall of dutyinfinity ward

Latest Comments
Posted 01:44pm 31/5/13
sounds dumb. it isn't that hard to imagine if they were still involved in CoD that a staff member may have been walking around with a prop gun and the possible consequences of a SWAT team coming in when holding something like that.
Posted 04:39pm 31/5/13
Haha, It's deffo more entertaining than planking but.
Posted 05:24pm 31/5/13
And a lot less annoying than the harlem shake...


Mix the two. Harlem SWAT.

Have an office sitting there, then cut to the door being kicked in when the beat drops.
Posted 05:34pm 31/5/13
Good form of marketing for the game.

Why can't the Police trace the phone call?
Posted 05:38pm 31/5/13
Why can't the Police trace the phone call?

Disposable, throw away mobile?
Pay phone?
Posted 05:40pm 31/5/13
Disposable, throw away mobile?Pay phone?

True I keep forgetting they don't enforce ID checks on prepaid phones in the US like they do over here.
Posted 08:30pm 31/5/13
You can buy unlocked phones over the internet without such a requirement for less than $20 including shipping. It's pretty pointless.

EDIT: $16 and I checked and it works on all networks in Australia.
Also it's not only an ID check, they actually enter your information into a database.
Posted 12:51am 01/6/13
True I keep forgetting they don't enforce ID checks on prepaid phones in the US like they do over here.

I've not been ID checked when buying prepaid in Aus, when did that start happening?

Last I checked (was a few years ago though) it was just a matter of buying and activating, which you could easily do under a false name.

My mate had a phone under the name "Barnaby Jenkins Jr. III" for years.
Posted 01:20am 01/6/13
almost everywhere will ask for and record your drivers license now. unless it's vodafone.
Posted 11:52am 01/6/13
So they have that statue over looking a street... in America. Surprised no one was shot tbh.
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