If a cellphone GPS system can’t get a specific read on a device, the system will return a general location. For Sprint users in North Las Vegas, the general location returned is the home of Wayne Dobson, and over the last couple years, several people have knocked on his door looking for their phone with the Find My Phone feature. These situations are generally diffused when Dobson calls the police, and he’s even invited people in to wait for the police to show up.
It’s a more serious issue, though, because 911 dispatchers have also sent police to his house for domestic disputes when an address isn’t given and his address shows up via GPS. Chilling to think of what would have happened to Dobson if he had confronted officers with a gun.
About two weeks later he was awakened at 4 a.m. by a person prowling along the side of his house. Dobson followed a flashlight beam to his bathroom window. When he looked out, the person flashed the light in his face.
“I screamed at him, ‘Who are you? Get out of my yard!’?” Dobson said. “And he said, ‘We’re the police, open the door.’?”
North Las Vegas cops had received a 911 call from a woman on a cellphone who was arguing with a man. The argument was escalating, but dispatchers weren’t able to get a location from the woman.
They looked at the location of the phone and sent officers, who arrived minutes later at Dobson’s house. He was taken outside to his front yard and searched. When officers realized the mistake, they apologized.
Dobson said he is grateful that he didn’t confront the officers with a weapon.
“I would have been on the losing end, and it would have been because of that issue,” he said.