On Saturday, May 18, two men in their early 20's were arrested in the Fresno area and are facing charges for drug crimes and burglary after leading police directly to themselves thanks to "butt-dialing" 911 while reportedly in the midst of a multi-crime spree.
It appears that the young suspects were completely unaware that one of their cell phones accidentally rang a dispatcher in the emergency-response center, allowing her to listen in for the next 35 minutes as they boldly discussed their strategy for breaking into a car in search of drugs, the sound as they smashed the glass and their glee as they retrieved a cache of prescription drugs.
As the dispatcher continued to monitor the call, the suspects are said to have given clues to their whereabouts as they drove throughout town, leading police to pull them over and ask if they had "anything in their vehicle they shouldn't have," to which one of the men responded "Not at all, I'm just driving my friend home."
When a search of the vehicle turned up items taken from the burglarized car, the suspects were quite surprised to learn that they had led the police to find them by way of the trail of cellular bread crumbs. "My phone really called 911?" asked one of the suspects.
This isn't the first case in which someone has been charged with drug crimes and more thanks to betrayal by their cell phone. A similar case occurred recently in Orange City, Florida, in which a tow-truck driver was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia when his butt-dialing allowed a 911 dispatcher to overhear him conducting a drug sale.
Additionally, police in Pennsylvania recently tracked down a Scranton man following his alleged involvement in a drug transaction that was recorded by a 911 operator, leading them to discovery of the cell phone that had dialed 911 along with syringes of Suboxone (a drug for opiate addiction treatment) and pill bottles full of prescription drugs. He was charged with possession of a controlled substance, drug paraphernalia and prohibited offensive weapons.
With the prevalence of cell phones across all realms of society, accidental dialing – including to 911 – is an increasing phenomenon, and one which can lead to criminal charges for drug crimes, white collar crimes and more.
An experienced criminal lawyer can help if you or someone you know has been charged with any type of crime – even if you inadvertently call the police yourself.
Contact us to schedule a consultation right away.