Man accused of hoarding a county’s worth of lost phones due to GPS error

Find my iPhone

Imagine this scenario: Your phone was lost or stolen, but luckily enough you can still access the GPS remotely. You are able to track it down to a specific address, using a tool like “Find my iPhone.” You drive there, filled with hope that you have tracked down your all-important device, only to be told by the man who lives at that address that he doesn’t actually have your smartphone. You’ll have to take his word for it or get the authorities involved, but imagine being the person who lives there — kind of awkward, right? Now imagine that person gets these kinds of house calls at all hours of the day and night, all week long.

This is the very real scenario that is playing out for North Las Vegas and Clark County resident Wayne Dobson. As it turns out, Dobson’s home address happens to show up as the GPS location for Sprint customers in the area. So if you are in the correct vicinity, your phone will mistakenly — but very specifically — pinpoint your location as Dobson’s house. It is being described as a big mistake, potentially on Sprint’s part. It’s a mistake that mobile phone experts say they have never seen before.

In a local news interview, Dobson talked about people knocking on his door at all hours of the day, including the middle of the night. It takes little imagination to fathom the kind of confrontation that must take place. In fact, it happened so frequently that Dobson put up a sign outside his house to explain the situation. Police have been called to Dobson’s house multiple times because people simply didn’t believe that their GPS was wrong.

It isn’t just about tracking down lost cell phones, though. Dobson’s home address will also show up to 911 operators if they are unable to specifically track down the caller’s location. It’s kind of a small miracle that police cruisers aren’t constantly raiding his home. Officers did invade his property once though, and searched him, in response to a domestic violence complaint that clearly came from someone else. They apologized when they realized they were led to the wrong address.

Supposedly, county officials are currently in the process of fixing the GPS mistake. Sprint has also said it will look into the issue to see if it is the one at fault. Until then, Dobson’s address is flagged in local 911 dispatch systems with an explanation of the issue. It doesn’t stop mobile phone and tablet owners from coming to his house, though. He lives with a sense of dread every time he hears a car drive by, wondering whether or not it’s another person who will demand his or her phone back.

via My News 3 and LVRJ

No comments yet.

Leave a Comment