Getting Away With A Crime Is Harder When You Pocket Dial 911

It’s always nice when crimedoers save police some work and basically catch themselves, isn’t it? A pair of alleged thieves in Wisconsin were apprehended after one of them accidentally called 911 on his cell phone, from his pocket.

Madison police say the men stole DVDs and computer games from a Target store, and were driving away from the scene when the pocket dial occurred, says the Huffington Post. Turns out they were discussing their plans to sell the stuff they’d just stolen, and a 911 dispatcher listened in.

The conversation went on for an hour, all while the dispatcher was on the call. They even went so far as to talk about their car and describe it, which is pretty handy for cops when trying to apprehend someone.

When they finally stopped hemming and hawing over where to sell their stuff and picked a video store, they pulled in to find authorities waiting for them, guns drawn. They were, of course, arrested.

*Thanks to my mom, who has done her share of pocket-dialing, for the tip!

Alleged Thieves Arrested After Pocket-dialing 911 [Huffington Post]


Edit Your Comment

  1. citking says:

    The actual incident report can be found at It’s worth the read!

  2. missy070203 says:

    I love dumb criminal stories….. makes my day!

  3. JoeDawson says:

    How is this even possible! well i guess stupid is as stupid does… Must have been a one button emergency type of thing, I cannot imagine that the guy pocket dialed 9… 1… 1… send! I think the chance of that happening randomly are 3489023423 (aproximately) to 1 against.

    • ahecht says:

      Assuming pure random chance, it’s 1 in 1000. It’s going to be better than that if you assume that outside keys (like 1 and 9) are more likely to be hit, and it’s even more likely if you consider that once something hits the “1” key, it’s fairly likely to hit it again.

      • nugatory says:

        depends upon the phone, mine has a full qwerty keyboard. Thats a lot more than 1 in 1000.

      • teamplur says:

        Most phones let you make an emergency call by holding ‘1’ or maybe ‘9’. Happens all the time. Has nothing to do with the ‘chance of’ dialing 911 in your pocket

    • GearheadGeek says:

      Blackberries, for example, when password-locked, give you the options “Unlock, Emergency Call, Cancel” if you press any of the bigger “action” buttons. If that happens because it’s wiggling around in your pocket, it’s not that remote a chance that “Emergency Call” will get selected, and it does the dialing for you after that.

    • edman007 says:

      On many phones 911 is a button on the unlock screen, this is because there is a law that says locking the phone cannot lock out 911 so instead of letting you dial and then displaying phone book info and whatnot they just put a 911 button on the phone when it’s locked. A blackberry for example has a large roller button, pushing this button turns on the phone, rolling it highlights 911, push it again and it says are you sure, and once more dials 911. That roller button is the easiest button to push on the phone, anyone who keeps a blackberry in their pocket instead of the holder has experienced a 911 pocket dial.

      • The Porkchop Express says:

        Does the iPhone do this? I am serioulsy asking so that I know how to do it ot not do it.

        Not that I’m going to rob a store and talk about it or anything…

        • edman007 says:

          Somewhat, there is an emergency dial button on the unlock screen, however since it’s a touch screen it’s not sensitive to whatever you have in your pocket, and it also only responds to finger sized button pressed (if you put your palm on it is knows it’s not a finger). The iphone also includes a proximity sensor that can sense if the phone is against a face or leg. These sensors combined means iPhones and most other touch screen phones need an actual finger to pressed the 911 button and you will almost never pocket dial 911 (though I almost did it on the droid when I had wet fingers, the water gets picked up as many small fingers holding down).

    • FarkonGnome says:

      Never tell me the odds!!

    • Jay911 says:

      Every cell phone I’ve had in the past 10 years that had an actual keypad (instead of, say, an iPhone) will trigger an emergency call when one key is held down. Oftentimes it’s the 9 key, sometimes it’s the 1, and sometimes there’s a key marked ‘SOS’. I work in a 9-1-1 center that serves about 1.25 million people, and we deal with something like 12,000 “pocket dials” per month.
      It can be disabled – even on Blackberries – if you take the 90 seconds to look through the manual or even just browse the settings on the phone.

    • Zachary Jacob Zblewski says:

      There is also the chance the guy hadn’t paid his phone bill, thus being in “EMERGENCY CALL ONLY” mode or whatever they call it.

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      My stupid dumbphone has a 911 button. I think it’s number 1. I’ve pocket dialed them several times. It’s so embarrassing when it hangs up and they call me back. “I butt-dialed you again!” “That’s all right, we’re just glad you’re okay.”

  4. pop top says:

    “Here you go dear. I found this article on the newstubes and thought it might be nice if you shared it with your little online friends.”

  5. CubeRat says:

    OK, I have to admit, the rapper with the pot has been pushed out of the “Idiot of the Day” award. These two can share it.

  6. BrightShopperGettingBrighter says:

    Shout out to Mom of Mary Beth for sending this over…

  7. AllanG54 says:

    Obviously their cheese heads were on too tight.

  8. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    This made me smile. I also hope they used up their minutes as well, or even a bonus – went over their limit and got charged 45 cents a minute for the privledge of alerting the police to their crime. **snicker snicker**

  9. Kamaria says:

    Maybe it was a sting operation and the guy dialed it on purpose to get his partner arrested?

  10. LanMan04 says:

    Guns drawn? Seems a bit excessive…

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      Maybe they also talked about guns or something? Or maybe that was added to the story along the way?

  11. taaurrus says:

    How is this a “consumerist” story??