A man who claimed to be holding three flight attendants hostage from British Airways in the Daytona Beach International Airport lobby on Monday was trying to provoke a major response from police by using a spoofed number, officials said this week.
According to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office, a man who identified himself as "John Raizes," called the sheriff's non-emergency line on Monday claiming he'd taken three flight attendants with hostage and wanted $20,000 in ten minutes or else he would "(expletive) kill these people. I swear to God."
Except, as deputies quickly determined, the caller was making everything up. For one, deputies knew that British Airways does not serve Daytona Beach and two, the call came in around 4 a.m., when the airport wasn't even open and no one was there.
The sheriff's office had an officer who was already patrolling the airport check everything out, and they reported no threat. No hostage situation or danger. Just some a guy with a phone and some tech know-how on how to spoof a number, officials said.
"Had it been with a carrier that we had and the airport open, the response would have been a little bit different," said Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood told the Daytona Beach News-Journal on Thursday.
Chitwood believes the caller was attempting to provoke a full response from the sheriff's office and the Daytona Police Department to go out to the airport and create a scene, something known as "swatting" online. However, Chitwood said he only deployed a few extra deputies to check things out, and was thankful the whole situation didn't turn out to be a lot worse.
Detectives are working with the Daytona FBI to determine who made the call. Because the caller used technology to spoof his number, the call could have come from anywhere.