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Family of boy convicted in school swatting: it 'ruined our life' | News

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Family of boy convicted in school swatting: it 'ruined our life'

COOPERSVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) – Bomb threats and other swatting incidents are on the rise in West Michigan, with nearly a dozen in recent months at area school districts. As the troublesome trend continues, frustrated police, school leaders, and parents are looking for ways to stop them.

WZZM 13 spoke with the mother of a 14-year-old boy who was convicted as an accomplice in an incident in Coopersville last fall. We are not naming the student because he is a juvenile, even though he has been identified elsewhere and is known in the community. Also for that reason, we are not naming his mother, either.

That doesn't change what she had to say about how the incident has affected her family and how easily she says her son got snarled into a very serious crime.

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The mother says her son's conviction has "ruined our life." The boy was ordered to pay $10,000 restitution, but the punishment could have been worse: her son was convicted of a four-year felony for being an accomplice to swatting. How it got to that is a cautionary tale for every parent.

Last September, the Coopersville student was in a chat room when a friend invited someone name 'Ransom'. He asked a lot of questions--where he lived, where he attended school, etc.

"He gave them all that information and the next thing he knew, he said he was going to swat our school," the mother recalls. "My son laughed because he did not know what swatting was."

In this case, the Coopersville boy got on the phone and listened while another person called 911 and threatened potential harm to students and staff. The elementary schools were locked down. When the mom, a Coopersville school bus driver, came home that night, her son told her, "Mom, I know who made the call."

"We called Coopersville police and said that we knew who did it and so they came out. My son showed them the site and they took his computer," she recalls. "I said, 'Fine, take it -- catch the creep!'"

The creep she is referring to is known as Ransom, suspected in several similar incidents around West Michigan and living in the United Kingdom. The FBI is now working with overseas police to find him, but that did not let the 14-year-old local student off the hook.

"They decided because he gave information and sat on the phone and listened to the guy call the swat, that he was considered an accomplice -- even though they had proof he did not know this person until two minutes prior," the boy's mother claims.

She is frustrated police can't catch Ransom and has this warning to students: don't give out any information online. As to her experience she had this message for other parents:

"While we got bashed down to dirt here in town, saying they would never let their kids get on the computer and talk to these people, I guarantee 90 percent of parents out there let their kids play these games and let their kids talk to strangers."

The 14-year-old boy now has a felony conviction on his record. His mother says Ransom tweeted that he laughed about her sons arrest and conviction, saying he thought it was hilarious.