GPS glitch leading lost phone owners to Las Vegas home

One of the most bizarre stories floating around the Internet this week is focused on Wayne Dobson, an average 59-year-old retired resident of Las Vegas. Nothing is unusual about his life, except for the fact people keep showing up at his doorstep insisting he has their lost or stolen cell phones.

A GPS glitch in Sprint phones is pointing people to Dobson’s property, telling them their phones are in the area. So many people have shown up, at all hours of the day and night, that Dobson has taken to sleeping near his front door on weekends to keep disturbances to a minimum. He’s hung a sign on his house proclaiming “No lost cell phones!!” Police have been called to the residence several times, sometimes by angry people who insist their phone is inside the house and sometimes by Dobson himself.

In one instance, Dobson discovered police lurking in his yard at 4 a.m. They had responded to a 911 call from a woman fighting with a man who did not provide a location. Police traced the GPS on her phone, which of course led them to Dobson’s home. He was ordered out of his home and searched on the front lawn, but received an apology after police realized the error.

“It’s a hell of a problem,” Dobson told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It would be nice to be able to get a good night’s sleep.”

A Sprint spokesperson told the newspaper that the company is investigating the issue. Others have pointed to a nearby cell phone tower as the source of the problem.


Update: Sprint says the problem is with people “misinterpreting the results of cell phone location software.”