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Alleged robbers butt-dial 911

Fresno police claim two men butt-dialed the emergency hotline, allowing a dispatcher to listen in as a crime was planned and committed.

2 min read
ABC News Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

We like to give advice to the less perfect here, principally because the perfect tend not to feel they need advice.

When it comes to those who rob, pilfer, or otherwise break the law, we tend to suggest that they don't taunt the police. Another suggestion is to turn off your phone.

This latter suggestion might have been useful for two men who stand accused of taking things that weren't theirs from a car.

Police in Fresno, Calif., say that a 911 operator received a call. No one was on the other end.

However, the dispatcher decided to keep listening and then, as KJRH-TV reports, voices were heard.

One said: "I just want to smoke weed so bad right now."

A perfectly reasonable sentiment, but not one to be shared with the police.

Perhaps being keen to discover even more, the dispatcher kept listening. For 35 minutes.

The conversation allegedly turned to the idea of committing a crime.

These words were also heard: "They're narcos! Yee-ahh!"

So were: "We'll go back and search in a little bit and search the whole thing, but we'll park far away, you know?"

There was a sound that could have been the window of a car being smashed. There was this line from one of the men: "Get the bolt and give me the hammer just in case."

Well, they could have discussing home improvements.

In the meantime, the dispatcher worked to discover the location of the butt-dialer and sent police to the scene.

The men on the phone seemed to have realized that they were being observed.

"He's right ****ing behind me, dude," says one. "He's following the **** out of me, bro. Wow. What did I do?"

Police say that they chatted with Nathan Teklemariam and Carson Rinehart, both 20.

From the police officer: "Anything in your vehicle that shouldn't be in your vehicle?"

"Not at all," replied one of the men. "I"m just driving my friend home."

ABC News reports that police found prescription drugs and other items allegedly taken from the burglarized car. Once the suspects were in custody, they were told how they were tracked down.

At which point, an immortal line -- allegedly from one of the two suspects -- was heard: "This fool really called 911?"

Sgt. Jaime Rios of the Fresno Police seemed to think this was a first. He told ABC News: "There have been times where the dispatcher hears something like this, but never has a call come in before a crime being committed and staying on all the way to the end."

Well, perhaps he hadn't heard of a case in Oregon earlier this year when a butt-dial allowed a dispatcher to listen in to an alleged drug deal.

Teklemariam and Rinehart have been charged with burglary, conspiracy, and possession of stolen property.

It is not known if they're still talking to each other.