BEND, OR -- Bend Police say a reported hostage situation at a local business, Wednesday afternoon, was a hoax. Lieutenant Clint Burleigh says the caller told 911 they were going to hurt hostages at Sal's Barber shop, near Highway 97 and Powers Road. But, when officers arrived, Lt. Burleigh says something wasn't quite right, "We were noticing normal activity as we were watching and preparing to make entry into the facility." He tells KBND News officers talked with people coming out of the business, "We'd talk to them after they got a ways away to see if there's anything abnormal inside going on." Through those conversations, it appeared it was "business as usual" at Sal's.
Multiple agencies responded, including CERT, a K9 unit for the Bureau of Land Management, SWAT, and drones. When they entered the business, they concluded they'd been pranked. Burleigh says, after officers entered the business and determined there was no danger, the call was concluded to be a "SWATting" hoax, designed to bring a large number of emergency personnel to a nonexistent situation. "It's unfortunate that this happens. We do live in a time when we have threats that happen and we do have situations like these that do occur, so obviously, every one of them is taken seriously. It is something that I don't feel any community really needs to have happen, but if they do, then it's important that we find the people responsible for it." And, he says, those responsible could face criminal charges, "Disorderly Conduct: they're causing fear throughout the community; Filing a False Police Report, possibly Misuse of 911. There's a lot of crimes you could be looking at. If we do find the person responsible for it, then we will decide what charges they could be looking at in regards to an arrest."
Burleigh says it's too soon to tell if Wednesday's incident is in any way related to a report of a shooting that turned out to be a hoax, at the end of last year.