Sprint location glitch leads owners of stolen phones to the home of unknowing Las Vegas man

Lost phones tell their owners they're at the home of a Las Vegas man

Services such as Find my iPhone are great as long as they work the way they're supposed to. Wayne Dobson, a 59 year old Las Vegas resident, has learned the hard way what happens when cell phone tracking programs malfunction. Owners of lost cell phones keep showing up at his door demanding their phones back. The only problem is, he doesn't have them. The problem seems to be isolated to Sprint cell phone users and due to a glitch that shows owners of lost devices that they are located near Dobson's home. According to the Las Vegas Review Journal:

Dobson was told that cellphone GPS systems don't provide exact locations - they give a general location of where to start your search. And for some reason his house is that location for his area.

Dobson's issues began way back in 2011 when the owner of a lost Sprint cell phone knocked on his door around midnight demanding his lost phone back. It turns out, the tracking software had led the disgruntled owner right to Dobson's front door. This man is one of many since that have shown up at Dobson's home demanding he return stolen cell phones he doesn't have possession of.

Unfortunately, the glitch hasn't just been limited to cell phone tracking programs but has also led police to his door on domestic violence calls that were placed from Sprint cell phones. It appears the issue has to do with a glitch in the GPS data that is sent from the carrier to the tracking software or police departments.

As of now, Dobson still has no clear answers from Sprint or any other company that may be able to help him. They agree it's an odd issue but still aren't sure exactly how to fix it.

A spokesperson from Sprint said they're looking into the problem but until it is solved, Dobson has been forced to put up signage outside his home stating that he doesn't have your cell phone and to call the police.

Source: Las Vegas Review Journal

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Allyson Kazmucha

Senior editor for iMore. I can take apart an iPhone in less than 6 minutes. I also like coffee and Harry Potter more than anyone really should.

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Reader comments

Sprint location glitch leads owners of stolen phones to the home of unknowing Las Vegas man


I'm against bs lawsuits but I think this guy should sue the hell out of Sprint. They have had plenty of time to fix this and this is just absurd.

This fills in some blanks for me. I live in Las Vegas and ever since I updated to iOS 6 my weather app and different apps that use my location usually have my location wrong. Sometimes it says I'm in Cali or other areas of NV. I thought it was because of the update but maybe it was Sprint all along. I'm waiting to see what Tmobile has in a few months for Apple products and may switch. Sprints service upgrade has been in slow motion and their unlimited data is useless as it operates at dial up speeds.

Actually in your case it may or may not be sprint. As soon as I upgraded to iOS 6 on my iPad 3 and my newer iPod Touch 5, quite often neither device can find my location. So, for example, when I try to find an address in Apple maps which might be only a few kilometers from me, my map system will tell me it's a 5000 mile trip. Plus when I try to ask Siri what movies are playing near by, it'll say "I'm sorry but I don't know where you are". It's intermittent, but annoying. And I don't have an iPhone, and I'm in Canada. So for me it's not a mobile carrier issue.

My god. Can you imagine how many times this poor guy has nearly gotten his a$$ kicked because all these people who've seen some stupid Youtube video about a guy chasing down the guy who stole their phone, and so they think they can do it too, and they show up on the offensive, claiming he stole their phone, and that they aren't leaving until they get it back? This is flat out dangerous! Totally agree. Sue the crap out of them, so you can have Sprint pay off your house, and then move (plus extra for your troubles).