January 16, 2013

PSA: Wayne Dobson Doesn’t Have Your Cell Phone

Here’s the problem with modern technology; it often works just well enough for us to become dependent on it. If and when it acts up or leads us astray, we aren’t quite sure how to act.

How many times have we followed the directions of the GPS on our phones, even though we have a pretty good idea that it’s leading us the wrong way? After all, it’s the one talking to multimillion-dollar satellites in outer space. Maybe it just knows better than us.

Sometimes, modern technology just gets it wrong, and all the pointing at the screen and shouting in indignation doesn’t change the fact that, at this point in the global story, we’re dependent on flawed technology

It’s likely few understand this better than one Wayne Dobson, 59, of Las Vegas, Nevada.

Mr. Dobson just so happens to live a few hundred feet away from a Sprint tower, and while it’s unclear what he ever did to upset the tower, it likes to send people in search of their missing smartphones to his door.

“It’s very difficult to say, ‘I don’t have your phone,’ in any other way other than, ‘I don’t have your phone,’” said Mr. Dobson in an interview with the Las Vegas Review Journal.

So far, he’s found one solution; He’s put up a nice little sign by his front door that reads “NO LOST CELL PHONES!!” (sic) along with a note explaining that dastardly tower is responsible for misguiding everyone to his door.

In the last two2 years, Dobson has had five people visit his house in search of their missing device, each with some other device which led them straight to his stoop.

Last month, a group of four “young” men began angrily pounding on his door at 2:30 in the morning, demanding he return their lost device. One of them even had a tablet that directed them to this tower.

As we know, the tablet is always right.

“I understand why people are upset. These are $300 or $500 devices,” Dobson said. “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.”

Mr. Dobson doesn’t only have to worry about angry, drunk victims of cell phone theft pounding down his door at all hours of the night— the police have also been misled by these towers. 911 emergency services use towers to triangulate where a call is being placed, and in a few instance, the tower has led police to Mr. Dobson’s house. Las Vegas police have twice now shown up to Dobson’s house to respond to a domestic disturbance call.

Experts are mostly puzzled by this glitch that apparently only affects this one Sprint tower.

John B Minor, a communications expert who spoke with the Las Vegas Review Journal , had no explanation, saying only “That’s Crazy. This sort of thing I’ve not seen.”

So while this problem goes unanswered and unsolved, Mr. Dobson is left to pray that his little sign works and that he’ll be able to get a solid night’s sleep. Otherwise, he’ll have to continue answering the door at all hours of the night, trying to calmly explain to the screen-tapping masses that he doesn’t have their phone, nor does he care to.

Image Credit: Photos.com

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