Vegas man does not have your cellphone
Thanks to a glitch, Sprint users who have lost a phone are led to believe it's in a North Las Vegas home. It's not.
Wayne Dobson of North Las Vegas has a problem that only the era of GPS and cellphones could have wrought.
When some Sprint users have lost their phones and used location-tracking technology to find it, they've been erroneously directed to Dobson's residence. They often show up with friends at late hours, and some angry confrontations have resulted, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.
On two occasions, police have used the same technology to track the location of 911 calls made on cellphones and were incorrectly sent to the home of Dobson, who is 59 and retired. One time, he was taken outside and searched.
This has been going on since 2011, the newspaper says. It has happened seven times, including those two visits from police. The Review-Journal said:
"The problem appears to be limited to some owners of Sprint phones. Company officials said they are researching the problem, which has forced Dobson to sleep near his front door on weekends so he can answer the door quickly at all hours. . . .
"'We will research the issue thoroughly and try to get to the bottom of what is going on and if it has anything to do with our company,' spokeswoman Rachael Crocker wrote in an email."
Could someone please help this man? Meanwhile, Dobson has been very reasonable. "I understand why people are upset. These are $300 or $500 devices," Dobson told ABC News. "I'm worrying about someone showing up in an agitated state, are drinking, and if that one person has a weapon perhaps. This is Las Vegas."
He took the problem public when he told the Clark County Board of Commissioners that the problem is a public safety one, since police have been sent to the wrong location, MyNews3.com reported.
Some think the problem is due to the location of a cellphone tower near his house, but experts contacted by the Review-Journal expressed doubts.
Should this make you rethink your decision to drop the land line and depend entirely on your cellphone for 911 calls? Not really, since you'll usually be able to tell the dispatcher your location, and that land line won't help when you're away from home. Adds the Review-Journal:
"Cellphone companies came up with a way to locate the phones and instantly transmit their coordinates to dispatchers. Today, as 70% of phone calls to 911 are made by cellphones, dispatchers can see where they are calling from. The information must be accurate to within 50 to 300 meters, depending on the type of technology used."
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