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Ordinary man gets blamed when Sprint customers lose phones

Wayne Dobson doesn't even have a cell phone. But a glitch in GPS that seems to only affect Sprint customers sends people with lost phones to his Las Vegas house.

2 min read
Is it the cell tower? Or it the software? Wikipedia

If I were Wayne Dobson, I'd move house. I'd move a few blocks away from his Las Vegas home. Or I'd leave Las Vegas altogether.

Dobson, you see, suffers constantly by virtue exclusively of where he lives.

Angry Sprint customers turn up at his door and demand he gives them their cell phones back.

He doesn't have their cell phone. He doesn't have anyone's cell phone. He doesn't even own a cell phone.

As the Las Vegas Review-Journal painfully portrays it, 59-year-old Dobson is at his wit's end.

However, he's also at the end of an impossible GPS glitch that makes Sprint customers believe their cell phones are secreted on his property.

It's no fun for him to open his door and encounter people begging for their phone back because it has intimate family pictures -- or merely intimate pictures.

Things became truly annoying in December, though, when four youths turned up at 2:30 a.m. with menace aforethought. They were in possession of an app that told them -- for sure, for sure -- that Dobson had one of their phones.

Things didn't get better when, on another occasion, someone thrust lights into his house at 4 a.m. That someone was a police officer, who believed a 911 call reporting potential domestic violence had come from Dobson's house.

A police spokeswoman explained what could have been a deadly situation to the Review-Journal like this: "We're relying on the accuracy of the information that's given to us by the carrier. It's just not a perfect technology."

Sprint's spokeswoman, Rachel Crocker, sounded mystified: "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."

Well, the police have visited Dobson four times now. Yet how are they to know that the next report to go to his house won't be real?

Is it some anomaly with his local cell tower? Or is it Sprint's software?

Dobson doesn't care. He just wants his life back.

He told the Review-Journal: "It's like Pavlov's response now. I dread the thought when I hear a car drive by that they're going to be pulling in and knocking on my door."

Move house, Wayne Dobson. Move house.