Leave me alone! GPS glitch sends numerous owners of lost smartphones to Nevada man’s house

gps issue sends owners of lost smartphones to nevada mans house location trackingNevada resident Wayne Dobson has had trouble getting a decent night’s sleep lately. It’s not because he has any particular worries on his mind, or that a noisy neighbor is keeping him awake. It’s because he keeps getting people knocking on his door demanding the return of their mobile phone.

Dobson’s woes are reportedly the result of a glitch with some handsets’ location-tracking software, which uses GPS and triangulation from mobile phone towers to determine the location of a missing device. In this particular case, it seems that the issue is related to a number of Sprint handsets. The company is said to be looking into the problem.

According to the Las Vegas Review Journal, 59-year-old Dobson has been visited on numerous occasions over the last two years by people demanding he return their mobile phone.

“They’ve yelled, shown him evidence, called the police – sworn that their phone is in his house,” the Journal said. He’s even had the police on domestic violence calls mistakenly directed to his home.

“It’s a hell of a problem,” Dobson told the Journal this week. Indeed, the situation has become so serious that he’s posted a sign on his front door which reads, “No lost cell phones!”

Dobson said on one occasion a visitor searching for her phone became extremely agitated when he insisted he didn’t have her handset.

“I’ve got pictures of my grandchildren,” she told him. “I can’t replace them. I need them. All I want are my pictures.” According to the Journal, Dobson called the woman’s cell phone provider, Sprint. A technician reportedly explained the problem, but didn’t offer any solution at the time.

In December last year, Dobson decided that the situation had gone “from a nuisance to a danger” when four men banged on his door at 2.30am demanding the return of a handset. Another incident, also last month, involved a scary confrontation with someone prowling outside his home with a flashlight at four in the morning.

Location-tracking technology has proved a useful way for owners of mobile phones to locate their missing device – when it works properly. Last year there were several stories of how the Find My iPhone app led to the arrest of a number of criminals.

As for Dobson, the poor man must be going out of his mind. “It’s like Pavlov’s response now,” he told the Journal. “I dread the thought when I hear a car drive by that they’re going to be pulling in and knocking on my door.”

Hopefully the issue will soon be resolved, allowing Dobson to once again get a restful night’s sleep.

[via Computerworld] [Image: Jojje / Shutterstock]

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