GREENFIELD, Mass.. (WWLP) – Greenfield Police surrounded a hotel Wednesday morning and evacuated everyone inside. It was all a hoax that started with a prank phone call.
“A frightening, costly, gutless crime” is what the Greenfield Chief of Police called it. And they plan to find out whoever’s responsible.
A man called Greenfield Police Wednesday morning, saying he had a gun and he was holding his two nieces hostage in a room at the Days Inn on Colrain Road near the Route 2 Rotary.
Police surrounded the hotel and everyone was evacuated.
Malcolm Burns, who was among those evacuated, told 22News, “We were on our way out, and they already had six guys in the hallway with guns pointed down the hallway, so I’m like, ‘Oh my god, let’s get out of here’.”
They found nothing, and it turned out to be a hoax that police have been encountering nationwide in recent years.
Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh said, “We believe this to be another ‘swatting’ incident, in which a caller who is somewhere else is calling in an emergency that’s just not there.”
The suspect called 911 multiple times, saying there was a pipe bomb, and that he wanted a negotiator.
Chief Haigh said that they had an idea that it was a prank phone call from the beginning, but it had to be taken seriously, and unfortunately, it was frightening and very costly.
More than 30 police officers, including some that were called in and will have to be paid overtime, State Troopers and the State Police SWAT team searched every room. Firefighters and EMS were also on standby.
Meghan Persico of Warwick said, “I think it’s very childish games. It’s just stupid to have to call somebody like that. I mean, they already have enough issues to worry about.”
Greenfield Police detectives will continue to try and find out who made the calls, and subpoenas have been sent to obtain phone records.
The Days Inn is one of a couple of Greenfield hotels which used to house homeless families for the state.