Law and Order

Sprint Sends Swarm of Angry People with Lost Cellphones to Random Dude’s House

Oops.
(Photo: Biz Journal)

In yr phone, sendin you the wrong location. (Photo: Biz Journal)

As anyone who has used a map app recently will tell you, GPS location is still a pretty imperfect science. Sadly, we don’t think that will be any comfort to Wayne Dobson, a 59-year-old Las Vegas man who has fallen victim to a glitch with Sprint Wireless’s GPS technology. The problem has dispatched scores of people who lost their cell phones to his front door demanding he give them their phones back.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that Sprint can track the location of a lost or stolen cell phone within 50 to 300 meters and send that information to law enforcement. But a glitch with Sprint is pinpointing Mr. Dobson’s house as the epicenter of tons of stolen phones, even though he’s had nothing to do with them. To make matters worse, when police triangulate 911 calls made from cell phones near his home, the glitch frequently makes it seem as if the call came from Mr. Dobson’s house.

“Lucky me, huh,” he told the Review-Journal, sounding kiiiind of likeĀ Eeyore. “I couldn’t be the multimillion-dollar winner. No. I’d rather have that problem.”

Mr. Dobson has resorted to putting a sign outside his house that reads, “NO LOST CELL PHONES!!” Dude doesn’t have your phone, okay?

This is the kind of thing that would be really novel at first–an interesting story to tell your friends over dinner, perhaps–but get old realllly quickly. Mr. Dobson has resorted to sleeping by his door so he can shoo away angry people in search of their phones at all hours of the night.

Sprint says it is investigating the glitch, so it should be fixed in the next 10-20 years.

Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter or via RSS. jroy@observer.com