Butt dials, or pocket dials, are a fairly common occurrence in contemporary society. You’ve probably done it yourself, and probably have received one. Most of the time these calls are harmless, and at most, it’s annoying. However, it doesn’t always go that way. Some people have made butt dials that caused serious problems.
10. David Grimsby and Robert Bourne
In December 2016, the Danville, Kentucky 911 dispatch got a phone call. When they asked what type of help the caller needed, no one responded. Instead, the dispatcher heard two men going over the logistics of robbing a local barbecue restaurant.
The dispatcher let an officer know and he told the chief of police, who was dining in the BBQ restaurant when the butt dial came in. They were able to triangulate the position of the car and found David Grimsby and Robert Bourne in a car in the parking lot of the restaurant. They were arrested, and luckily for them, they were released after being charged with only public intoxication.
9. Papa John’s Employee
In May 2013, an unnamed Papa John’s delivery driver in Sanford, Florida, delivered a pizza totaling $15.26, which included a delivery charge. The African-American customer gave the driver a 21 percent tip, which is pretty generous to give a guy who just drove a few miles and walked a pizza to a door.
After dropping off the pizza and returning to work, the delivery driver’s phone dialed the last number called, which happened to be the customer. The call went to voicemail, and when the customer listened to the voicemail, he was justifiably appalled.
On the voicemail, you can hear a coworker asking if the driver got a tip, and there are a few ways he could have gone with this. For example, he could have just been honest and said yes, or he could have just told his coworker to mind his own business. Instead, the driver chose to use the customer’s generosity as a way to be incredibly racist. On the voicemail, in a mocking tone, he says, “I guess that’s one of the requirements of being a n***** in Sanford. They gave me five bucks. They’re fine, outstanding gentlemen of the African-American community.”
After needlessly insulting the customer – for giving a generous tip, we might add – the driver then goes on to keep using the N-word multiple times and even sings two songs that only used the N-word and swear words, while his coworker laughs.
The customer posted the video on YouTube and WorldStarHipHop, leading to the driver being fired. The CEO of Papa John’s even heard about the incident and responded to it, saying the behavior and the language was unacceptable.
8. Donna Knope, Jason Knope, and Thomas Stallings
If you’ve seen Breaking Bad, you know that where you set up your methamphetamine laboratory is really important. Secondly, you have to do everything possible to avoid drawing attention to it, and definitely do not do anything to lead the police there.
Three people who didn’t follow those simple, basic rules were Donna Knope, 55; her son, Jason Knope, 32; and Thomas Stallings, 41, all of Orlando, Florida. One of these wannabe-Heisenbergs somehow managed to pocket dial 911, and over the next half hour, while the dispatcher listened to the call and traced it, the trio talked about cooking and selling meth. The dispatcher could also hear bubbling in the background.
When the police went to the location of the call, they found the trio in a shed behind the Knopes’ house cooking meth, and all three were arrested on drug charges. Amateurs. Walter White had two cell phones and a DEA agent in his contact list and this was never a problem for him!
7. John Elias Taylor III
In June 2016, an unidentified woman dropped off her son at the home of 27-year-old John Elias Taylor III in D’Iberville, Mississippi so that Taylor could babysit the boy. A short time later, the mother received a horrifying call from Taylor’s cell phone. It was a pocket dial, but the mother could hear her son begging not to be whipped any more. The mother called the police, who went to the house and discovered bruising on the child that shouldn’t have been there. Taylor was arrested and charged with felony child abuse.
So, let that be a lesson: if you’re going to beat children, don’t keep your cell phone on you. Just kidding, please don’t beat any children.
6. Unidentified Teacher in Winnetka, Illinois
Winnetka is a small, upscale village that’s located 16 miles north of downtown Chicago. It’s one of the richest towns in the United States, notable for being home to the house in Home Alone. Needless to say, it’s a place where crime is pretty rare (unless the Wet Bandits are on the loose again), but the town got quite a scare in January 2011, when the wife of a middle school teacher got a phone call from her husband’s cell phone. He was supposed to be on his way home, and she heard what sounded like a struggle and a man threatening him, so she called 911.
Thirty police officers went to the school and surrounded it for the next three hours. While local residents watched on, the officers swept the school looking for the teacher and the man that was threatening him.
As you probably gathered, the teacher was not in any danger. Fortunately, it was just a butt dial. The threatening voice she heard was simply some hip hop music that the teacher was listening to while he drove home. Damn that insufferable noise they call music!
There were no charges, because there was no intent to deceive the police. In fact, the police said they were thankful they got some training in the field.
5. Jamie Sniffen, Allen Slavin, and Larry Graff
One night in February 2013, 39-year-old Jamie Sniffen of Cortland, New York, left the home she shared with her live-in boyfriend, Allen Slavin, while he was asleep. She was headed to meet up with her lover, Larry Graff. After taking the taxi over to Graff’s house, Sniffen sat on her phone and accidentally called her sleeping boyfriend.
He was awoken by the call and according to Sniffen, Slavin heard “everything.” Slavin figured out that Sniffen was at Graff’s house. Graff and Slavin were friends, and he took a taxi over.
Once there, Sniffen let her boyfriend into her lover’s house and admitted to the affair. However, Graff kept denying it, and this only got Slavin angry, so the two men argued. The fighting riled up Graff’s pit bull, so Slavin grabbed a knife and a pellet gun to defend himself. Sniffen put the dog in a bedroom, while Slavin and Graff continued to argue.
Things got violent when Graff picked up a 3-foot speaker and hit Slavin with it. This caused Slavin to accidentally cut his wrist with a knife, so he whacked Graff several times with the pellet gun.
After the melee, Sniffen and Slavin left the house and went back home. However, several hours later Graff called 911 and was taken to the hospital, where he underwent surgery for a punctured liver. The police arrested Sniffen for hitting Graff, and Slavin was arrested for misdemeanor hindering prosecution for cleaning up the blood from the cut wrist. Sniffen was amazed that Graff was hurt that bad, saying of her rotund lover, “I don’t understand how that could happen because Larry is huge. He’s like 600 pounds.”
4. Larry Barnett
In 2013, Jonesboro, Arkansas used car lot owner Larry Barnett was being investigated by the police and the Secret Service for defrauding a bank out of $80,000.
In May of that year, a former employee of Barnett’s came into the police station because of a disturbing butt dial he had received. The call was from Barnett, and he was talking to a hitman he had hired to kill the employee that he was calling. Barnett said he wanted the death to look like an accident and said, “I don’t care if you have to burn his house to the ground with him in it.”
After the man filed the report with the police, he went home and he found evidence of a break in. Someone had tampered with his gas stove, so apparently this particular hitman was open to Barnett’s ideas. Barnett was arrested for conspiracy to commit murder and two felony counts of forgery.
3. Scott Simon, Michael Depre and Ronel Desinor
In the early morning hours of May 5, 2013, 27-year-old Scott Simon and 33-year-old Nicholas Walker got into an argument at a Waffle House in Orlando, Florida. May 5 was a Sunday, and since it was early morning, we’ll let you guess what the men had been doing before they got to the Waffle House.
The argument between the two men escalated, and Simon grabbed a fire extinguisher while Walker grabbed a wet floor sign. During the confrontation, Simon’s girlfriend dialed 911 and it connected, but she hung up because neither men threw a punch. However, when she put the phone in her purse, it reconnected to 911. The operator listened to the open line and recorded Simon talking about how he was going to kill Walker, saying “I’m about that s***.”
Minutes after leaving the Waffle House, Simon’s friend, Michael Depre arrived with Ronel Desinor in the passenger seat. They followed Walker as he drove away from the Waffle House. When they pulled up beside his car, they opened fire, and Walker was killed. So apparently, Simon really was about that s***.
The 911 “purse dial” led back to the three men. They were arrested, convicted, and each were given life sentences.
2. Li Xiangnan
Li Xiangnan met a young woman named Shao Tong in 2011, when they were both taking a preparatory class for Test of English as a Foreign Language in Beijing. Xiangnan was already at the Rochester Institute of Technology, but when Tong got accepted to Iowa State University, Xiangnan transferred to the University of Iowa, which was about 140 miles away in Iowa City.
In summer of 2013, Xiangnan moved into Tong’s dorm room, but by the end of the summer things were getting rocky. On September 3, Tong accidentally pocket dialed Xiangnan and while Xiangnan listened in, Tong bad mouthed him to another guy without realizing he could hear the entire conversation.
Obviously, Xiangnan was upset by this. Who wouldn’t be? But instead of eating ice cream and listening to The Cure over and over again, like a normal heartbroken person, Xiangnan strangled the 20-year-old woman and stuffed her body in the trunk of her car. After killing her, Xiangnan bought a one way ticket to China and flew home. Tong’s body wouldn’t be found until several weeks later.
Back in China, Xiangnan was arrested and tried for the murder, making it a very rare cooperation between Chinese and American law enforcement agencies. He pleaded guilty and he was sentenced to life in prison, which could be reduced to 13 years.
1. Jason Bohn
On June 26, 2012, the battered dead body of 27-year-old Danielle Thomas was found in a bathtub full of ice in her apartment in Astoria, New York. She had died of blunt force trauma and strangulation. At the scene, there was a note from her boyfriend, 34-year-old Jason Bohn. He said that he came home drunk, they got into a fight, and he didn’t remember what happened after that.
He turned himself in after a few days on the run, and when he talked to the police, he said that the murder was an accident. When he went to trial, his lawyers argued that since Thomas’ death was an accident, Bohn should only be guilty of manslaughter and not first degree murder. Except, there was one problem with his story: one of their cell phones (the police didn’t say if it belonged to Bohn or Thomas) pocket dialed, leaving one of their friends a voicemail recording of the murder.
On the voicemail, Bohn demands to know why Thomas called a certain area code. When she gives him an answer that he doesn’t like, he attacks her, and you can hear her getting punched and choked. When Bohn tells her to answer the question, he says “this is your life.” And Thomas responds, “I know.” Thomas begs for her life, but Bohn strangled her and said, “Danielle, you don’t have a lot of time.”
The haunting voicemail was played in court and clearly showed that Thomas’ death was not an accident. Bohn was sentenced to life in prison without the chance of parole.
Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, follow him on Pinterest or visit his website, or his true crime YouTube channel.