You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

MIT hoaxster sent tip using special system

The tipster who sent an ­erroneous report to Cambridge ­police about a gunman in an MIT building used a message relay system designed for people with hearing or speech impedi­ments, police said Tuesday.

The Internet relay service ­allowed the tipster to send a written message to a Sprint phone service employee, who then called the police to relay the message, said Dan ­Riviello, spokesman for the ­Cambridge Police Department.

Continue reading below

During their conversation, the Sprint employee gave police the name of a suspect that the tipster had provided. ­Police contacted that person and deter­mined that he was not ­involved with the incident in any way, a statement from Cambridge police said.

After the tip came in around 7:30 a.m. Saturday, police placed 77 Massachusetts Ave., the main building on MIT’s campus, in lockdown mode and searched the area for nearly four hours.

No gunman was found, and police believe that the report was false, Riviello said.

Police and prosecutors have said they will press charges against the tipster when they uncover the person’s identity.

Sprint spokeswoman Crystal Davis said that in order to be granted access to the relay service, customers must pass through a verification system to confirm that they have a hearing or speech impediment.

Davis said the company would turn over to police the name of the subscriber who sent the tip through the relay service, if that subscriber can be identified.

Todd Feathers can be reached at ­Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.
Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of