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How 911 dispatchers rewarded the man who called 4,000 times

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Posted at 10:31 PM, Dec 18, 2014
and last updated 2014-12-18 22:31:51-05

WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – In less than a week, dispatchers received nearly 4,000 calls to emergency number 911, but it wasn’t for the reason they thought.

The calls were happening three to four times per minute, and all coming from the same number.

Dispatcher Kari Bueno told KSL, “At first, I admit it, we were pretty mad. ‘We’ve got to find who this person is. This is ridiculous,’” she recalled saying. “‘What are we going to do? We are so mad.’”

About three weeks ago, the mystery caller was found.

David VanBibber, 30, was just trying to listen to music on a disconnected cell phone. His family said VanBibber is mentally challenged and he has the mental functions of an 8-year-old.

VanBibber used the cell phone to play music, and calling 911 was just happening accidentally while he listened to his tunes. Turns out a disconnected phone will still call 911.

The dispatchers didn’t want the family to take away his phone, but the calls to 911 had to stop.

That’s when they said they got the idea for an iPod and an iTunes gift card.

“It creates a lot of solace for him,” VanBibber’s father Steven told KSL.

And now VanBibber now has a new iPod to enjoy for the holidays, thanks to local dispatchers.