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Local Mystery: Phone Dials 911 By Itself — Repeatedly

Not a trick, and no treat for the cops.

From the spooky, eerie, makings-of-a-good-Halloween-movie files, a San Ramon-Danville-area family was befuddled how, over a two-week span, several 911 calls were made from their address -- without their knowledge, while they slept or when they were not even home.

The mystery began when the mom recently was woken up at 1 a.m. by a phone call.

“911. What is your emergency?” said the caller.

Her household was asleep; there was no emergency. Why was 911 calling?

“You called us,” the 911 operator insisted.

After some back-and-forth, the operator felt comfortable that the woman and her family were safe and hung up.

A few days later, the woman pulled onto her street only to see two police cars in front of her house.

A call from inside was placed to 911, said the cops. Again, vexing -- no one was home. 

And frankly, the officers added, they had been to her address four times in the past two weeks responding to 911 calls.

"I said, 'Oh, my God, I'm so sorry. I'll look into it right away,'" said the woman, who still cringes over the repeat police visits and opted for anonymity.

The house has no alarm service linked to emergency numbers, and, the flustered resident assured law enforcement, no pranksters under the roof.

After a service call from their telephone land-line provider, the 911-dialing culprit was revealed to be an old phone in a spare bedroom, which was sending out static pulses that would randomly hit on emergency number 911.

Reports of phones dialing 911 on their own are rare, to be sure, but they do happen, according to news articles, internet discussion groups, emergency-response workers, and even a phone technician's YouTube video.

In the late 1980s, a Los Angeles Times story highlighted how old, "dying" phones calling 911 by themselves was a routine headache for police.

The area family's phone -- an older model initially placed in the guest room in case the grandmother stayed over and needed to call 911 -- is now in the recycling bin.

Mom of three October 31, 2012 at 10:52 PM
Our family experienced a somewhat similar situation. Only we were woken by the Danville PD banging on our door at 2am during a rain storm. The entire family was sound asleep and obviously hadnt called 911. We checked our phone log and found no calls to 911. It was determined the following day that our phone line on the outside of the house was wet and the somehow was calling 911. AT&T says it happens often.
speaking for the babies, children November 01, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Hahaha sorry but I have to laugh because almost 15 years ago my son who was about 31/2 yrs. old called 911 on my husbands computer in our home office and I had no idea you could even call 911 (then) from the computer and next I heard from the living room hallway in a very loud strong vouce; " identify yourself!" Over and over as I went immediatly into the office to find out what my son had done and next thing I knew I too had the sherriffs dept. banging on my door demanding to come in. We found my 31/2 hiding under a table, and I wanted to hide too, I was 8 months pregnant with my feet barefoot, and it was very awkward to say the least. After the sherriffs checked my son out and listened to me, thank God, they, the nice sherriffs, they left our home ok with the findings...Now, my son is 181/2 and studying in Chico State Univ. studying computer science engineering. Many many years ago, my son, he learned to take computers apart very young and is still obsessed with computers, yes OBSESSED. My son very young could even put, the computer, back together. I have always said; "my sons the next Steve Jobs." RIP Steve Jobs!
speaking for the babies, children November 01, 2012 at 10:22 PM
Oh, and I'm a happy and very proud mom of 4 boys...all the same, OBSESSED with computers, like Steve Jobs. Yes, I am blessed to since they are all very blessed in the mind, heart, and Spirit too :)
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