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California Amber Alert blares in unexpected places

August 06, 2013|By Emily Foxhall

Show audiences have a new reason to silence their cellphones.

An unfamiliar phone alarm noise interrupted a comedy show in Huntington Beach on Monday night, said Allison Sciulla, a 24-year-old writer and stand-up comic, who performed at the show.

The blare interrupted the routine of another comic speaking on stage, Sciulla recalled, causing the comic to turn toward the guilty audience member and ask: “What kind of ringtone is that? Do you have a tiny ambulance in your pocket?"

California issued an Amber Alert to cell phones across the state on Monday night — and in some cases early Tuesday — causing many devices to beep and buzz.

The man in the audience, looking embarrassed, said he had no idea what the sound was, Sciulla said.

“People laughed when he called it out because we didn’t really know what was going on,” she said.

Sciulla had also received the message, which notified Californians of the license number for a suspect believed to have abducted two missing children in San Diego.

She thinks such messages are important and excused the audience member's mishap.

“You get a free pass. Someone’s in trouble,” she said.

The alerts woke up some people as they tried to sleep Monday night.

Renae Bowman, 25, of Granada Hills, says she received the alert 12 times overnight. Even after turning her Samsung Galaxy to vibrate, the vibrating noise continued to disturb her sleep.

“If I only get it once, I think it’s an amazing idea,” said Bowman, noting that the alerts could have included more information. “I don’t want to have it over and over and over again.”

Florida resident Karina Motes, 32, heard the sound when her plane landed at LAX airport and she turned on her phone.

The noise was alarming to hear on a plane, she said.

“I think everybody is already jumpy on an airplane,” she said. “A couple of people might have heard it and maybe even become a little disconcerted.”

Her husband, Bart, also received three messages at once, "like bam, bam, bam," he said, but his were silenced.

Waiting in the LAX airport for his next flight toward home, he received seven more.

"The system maybe needs to be refined a little bit," Bart said, but he noted that once his initial annoyance subsided, he found the message helpful.


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Twitter: @emfoxhall

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