Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lost phones keep being tracked to house in Vegas

You think losing your cell phone is frustrating? How about being the guy everyone thinks has it?

That's the reality for a man in North Las Vegas, all because of one big GPS mix-up.

News 3's Mackenzie Warren has the story on his unique problem.

Many feel that technology is never wrong -- it's only humans that are wrong. But in Wayne Dobson's case, technology has failed him.

“They want their phone, well the phone's not here,” said Dobson. “Now you put yourself in that situation. I’m being woken up all hours of the night --I haven't had a decent night of sleep in the last two years.”

For more than two years, a GPS error has been falsely leading people with missing cell phones to Dobson's North Las Vegas address. Dobson regulary gets people knocking at his door asking for lost cell phones.

"I try and explain to people, I dont have your cell phone," Dobson says.

Two years ago Clark County zoning accidentally assigned a cell phone tower to Dobson's home address. When someone searches for his or her missing phone in the GPS locator system, the ping pops up and sends them to Dobson's porch.

“All I know is they don’t have what they think is here and so they'll show up at 2:30 in the morning,” he says.

The problem is so disruptive that Dobson has put up a sign to help people realize the error when they arrive to his address.

To Dobson, the problem is about more than being woken up in the middle of the night -- it's a county resource problem. He told the county commission that the issue poses a problem to the police department since the police use the exact same system.

He got the attention of the Clark County Board of Commissioners Monday when he blasted North Las Vegas police for falling suspect to the county problem.

If a 9-1-1 caller doesn't know their address, dispatch computers provide operators the best address they have -- Dobson's.

"Imagine if they're here and they're not where the problem is," Dobson said.

County officials are now working with the city to correct the latitude-longitude mistake. Fixing the problem will require physically changing the tower's address.

Dobson is looking forward to the day when he can take his sign down.


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