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911, what's your emergency?
"Please help me! I'm in trouble!"
What's wrong sir, are you hurt?
"No, my iPhone isn't working!"
This might sound like a bad joke, but it's not. With a little bit of imagination, this is the dialogue that may have transpired between Illinois man Michael Alan Skopec, 48, and the emergency operators he called. Skopec allegedly dialed the 911 line five times to complain about his broken Apple smartphone.
And he was arrested.
Police managed to trace the calls from the 911 operator to Skopec's home. When confronted, Skopec reportedly "refused to comply with orders from deputies," according to a spokesman for the sheriff's office. He was then charged with obstructing or resisting a police officer.
It seems like reports are fuzzy as to why Skopec thought the police could help him out with his smartphone.
There's a very practical solution to tackling a malfunctioning iPhone: take it to the local Apple Store and get in touch with the folks over at the Genius Bar. If anybody knows how to fix an iPhone, it's one of those Apple-anointed techies.
Perhaps Skopec felt that an iPhone on the fritz was such an inconvenience that it amounted to a crime. Certainly, some smartphone users probably feel this way. Once you've gotten yourself hooked on the 3G or 4G wireless, it's hard to wean yourself off cold turkey.
Unfortunately, clogging up emergency lines with frivolous phone calls isn't something people should do. It ties up lines and can end up delaying police response to real victims. And, in many situations it can break the law.
Skopec has been released on his own recognizance, and is due back in court on November 18th. Hopefully, his actions will serve as a lesson to all: don't dial 911 about your broken iPhone.