Charges filed in ‘swatting’ incident

Authorities say Indiana man made fake bomb, hostage threats about Platte City-area family

An Indiana man has been charged with making false bomb and hostage threats that resulted in several Platte County Sheriff’s deputies responding to an unknowing family’s home. Richard S. Zimmer, 20, was charged Jan. 24 with making a false bomb report.

“Cases like these, popularly known as “swatting,” result in dangerous situations and divert limited law enforcement resources from legitimate operations,”  Platte County Prosecuting Attorney Eric Zahnd said. “Making calls like these is a crime that will be pursued in Platte County.” According to court documents, on Jan. 11 at approximately 12:30 a.m., Platte County’s Communications Center received a call regarding a hostage situation in the 15000 block of NW 125th Street, just south of Platte City. The calling party, later identified as Zimmer, allegedly demanded $300,000 or said he would kill the hostage. Zimmer also allegedly said that if anyone came close to the residence he would blow it up and threatened to kill the dispatcher if he tried anything “funny.” After Zimmer hung up, several Platte County deputies set up perimeter on the roadways and property around the residence and made several attempts to contact the residence via telephone with no response. Deputies eventually approached the residence and made contact with a male party who was the homeowner. The homeowner confirmed there was no emergency at the residence. A friend of Zimmer contacted the Platte County Communications Center approximately 30 minutes after Zimmer’s call to report the call from Zimmer was not real. The friend reported Zimmer, also known by the name Scott Cofield, who resides in Kokomo, Indiana, called him to say he had “swatted” the house of a girl who had been mean to his purported girlfriend.  Kokomo authorities made contact with Zimmer and confirmed he knew the girl who lived at the residence that was “swatted.” Zimmer is currently being held in the Platte County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash only bond.  If convicted of making a false bomb report, he faces up to four years in prison.