Prank costs teen $500,000 in bail

You may have heard about the Washington state teenager who hacked into a California 911 system and convinced authorities there that he had shot and killed someone in the Golden State home of Doug Bates and Stacey Cerwin-Bates.

Randall Ellis, 19, of Mulkiteo, Wash., is awaiting arraignment on $500,000 bail. He’s charged with one felony count of computer access and fraud, two felony counts of false imprisonment by violence, one misdemeanor count of falsely reporting a crime and two felony counts of assault with an assault weapon by proxy, according to this ABC News report.

Teenagers have sick senses of humor, so it’s easy to see how something like this could be funny to a 19-year-old.

But the prank was considerably less amusing to the Lake Forest, Calif., couple. Believing there was a prowler outside on March 29, Bates looked around his yard with a kitchen knife and was immediately (and probably not gently) taken down by SWAT team members.

Bates is lucky he wasn’t shot in the leg or arm – he’s extremely lucky he wasn’t shot at all. That’s why such a high bail is warranted in this case.

And it should be a wake-up call for law enforcement to better protect emergency communications networks.

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