Mass. police getting calls from Australian town with same name

Dispatcher Lisa Gaylord said callers from Northbridge, Australia, must be using Google to find the phone number on their smartphones.

By Ben Hooper

NORTHBRIDGE, Mass., April 23 (UPI) -- Police dispatchers in Northbridge, Mass., said they have been receiving a mysterious flood of calls for police in an Australian town with the same name.

Detective Sgt. John Ouillette said the first call from Down Under came in March 9 and the accented caller reported a fight in Russell Square, which is not the name of a location in the Massachusetts town.


"We were trying to determine if it was in town and then determined it was Northbridge, Australia," Ouillette told WBZ-TV.

Dispatcher Lisa Gaylord said the wrong-number calls, which come in on the department's business line, become quickly apparent.

"They just start talking like I'm in Australia," Gaylord told the Worcester Telegram. "As soon as they start talking I say, 'This is Northbridge, Massachusetts, in the United States. Do you have the right number?'"   Another dispatcher, Jordan Tredeau, said the callers "usually sound kind of embarrassed."

Gaylord said some are a little more than embarrassed.

"Oh [expletive], this phone call is going to cost me a fortune," she quoted one caller as saying.

"My guess is people just do Northbridge Police on Google and automatically hit that number [on their smartphone]. They don't even know what they're dialing," Gaylord said.


The department said it has contacted police in Northbridge, Australia, in the hopes of informing that town's residents of the correct number to dial, but the calls do not appear to have slowed.

"My dispatcher this weekend said he got a call, so they're definitely not stopping," Gaylord said. 

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