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Prank closes downtown Harriman

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SWAT teams called out in Temperance Town on two separate events

By Cindy Simpson

Harriman police closed off part of downtown Saturday evening after an elaborate 911 call prank alleging a man had killed his wife in the Roane Street apartment they shared.

“The guy in Harriman, he didn’t do anything wrong,” said Harriman Police Chief Randy Heidle. “He’s actually the victim.”

Heidle was able to contact the “dead” female, and she told him how the alleged prank caller had been calling her phone and telling her how he was going to call in the SWAT team in. The man and woman came out at Heidle’s request.

“The SWAT team did go up and clear the apartment,” Heidle said.

Heidle said the man and woman who were the victims of the prank were playing popular video game Call of Duty and were doing what he called streamlining the game, which he said sends it to YouTube, where if it gets enough visits, advertisers would pay.

Somehow, a man got their information and made the prank call.

Why?

Who knows.

Heidle said there is a trend across the nation where a group of people are doing this. It’s the first occurrence in Harriman.

The chief said the prankster may have used their IP address or just gotten their names and used the Google search engine to find out more.

“It seemed very realistic because it came from 911 and this person knew so much about the person he was claiming (to be),” Heidle said.

Heidle said he understands with the streamlining, the person making the prank can watch the SWAT team descend on the victims.

“He actually streamlined himself calling 911 doing this,” Heidle said.

Heidle said they are trying to get the FBI to work the case.

They do have the man’s call sign, the name the person uses on the Internet.

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A separate incident the previous night, Friday, June 27, required the Harriman SWAT team, as well, when a suspect refused to open a door.

Patrolman Michael Cox had went to 511 Clinch St. for suspicious activity. The owner of the residence was supposed to be in jail at the time and a black male and white female driving a white Mercedes had been seen by neighbors entering and exiting the residence.

The automobile’s vehicle identification number came back as a confirmed stolen/felony vehicle from Chattanooga Police Department.

Cox said he witnessed people moving the shades of a door and window, but whoever was inside refused to open up.

Cox contacted the Roane County Jail and spoke with the jailed resident, who said nobody was supposed to be in her home except Brandon Bodine. Her stepfather, Spencer Whalen, who has power-of-attorney, responded to the residence and gave written consent for Harriman Police to enter the residence.

Before Harriman SWAT entered the building, Samantha Mee, 22, Harriman; Mario Peoples, 34, Knoxville; and Bodine left the residence.

Mee and Peoples were charged with criminal trespass on the property.

Bodine was also served a criminal trespass notice at the stepfather’s request and removed from the property.

Peoples said he had bought the Mercedes from a friend and registered it in Roane County in May.

A search of the vehicle located a Georgia registration that came back as stolen.

Both Mee and Peoples were transported to the Roane County Sheriff Office and charged additionally with theft over $10,000.