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Cell phone turns in suspect
HPD patch

What’s commonly referred to as a “butt dial” reportedly helped local police catch a teen who is suspected of going through unlocked cars.

The incident occurred Sept. 22, according to a Hinesville Police Department incident report from Officer Stephen Menges.

His report said three juvenile suspects were spotted going through cars in the 800 block of Ridgewood Way and were near woods when Menges approached them. The three split up and began to run, and Menges called for backup.  

Two were later captured near Ridgewood Way. But the third wasn’t found until a cell phone in his pocket dialed 911 and the call was received by Liberty County 911 Communications Officer Jessica Thomas.

She could hear someone but was unable to talk to them, according to 911 Director Tom Wahl, then realized the person was being chased by police. Thomas began tracking the cellphone signal and was able to pinpoint its location, and her supervisor, Pamela Strickand, relayed that information to police. Detective Michael Bell was waiting for the third suspect when left the woods near Harbor Rain Apartments. The teen ran, but HPD canine handler Jerry Brittin was able to track him and threatened to turn loose the dog if he didn’t surrender.

The suspect gave up.

He and the other two juveniles are charged with entering auto and obstruction, according to the incident report.

The cell phone that helped police catch the third teen had been disconnected and didn’t have service, according to the report, but it still dialed 911.


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