A fake 911 caller from Russia claiming he had a meth lab, automatic weapons and a bomb strapped to his chest lured police to an empty rental home in Savage Sunday.
More than 40 officers from south metro police departments spent four hours at the scene before police determined the call was a hoax.
“We have to take these calls seriously,” said Savage Police Chief Rodney Seurer. “We wasted a lot of resources. … But I rather have everybody there and not use them.”
Seurer said the phone number was traced to Russia and is also tied to other swatting calls — fake calls that get police to sent their SWAT teams — around the country.
According to police, officers responded to the 14700 block of Meadowood Drive at 1 p.m. on a report of a man who barricaded himself inside a home with explosives. The man said all the windows and entrances of the home were rigged with explosives, and he would shoot and kill any police officers who came to the home.
Neighbors were evacuated and asked to go to their basements, Seurer said.
When officers first arrived, they failed to make contact with anyone inside. Officers waited until the Bloomington bomb squad and the Dakota County’s Mutual Aid Assistance Group arrived.
Seurer said there was no movement inside the home, but heat and electricity were on. He said there was film on the back windows that the rental manager had no knowledge of.
“It was strange,” Seurer said. “We thought somebody has got to be inside, then.”
Officers entered the home to find it empty.
In Minnesota, anyone who makes a fake 911 call or text message could be charged with a misdemeanor or a gross misdemeanor for repeat offenses. If the fake call results in a serious injury, it could mean a felony charge.
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office, Savage Fire Department, Burnsville police department, Shakopee police department, Prior Lake police department, the Tri-City tactical team, and Allina paramedics were also at the scene.