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Another "explosive" Cache Discovery


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DE PERE — The regional bomb squad blew apart a suspicious package found Wednesday near the waterline in Voyageur Park, destroying a prize package used in a high-tech scavenger hunt-type hobby.

 

The package, discovered about 10 a.m. by a public works employee cutting grass, was a metal ammo can with the word “explosives” on the side, said Brown County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John Gossage.

 

See:

 

Game’s prize cache sparks bomb scare in De Pere park

Police blow open ammo can with ‘explosives’ on it

 

Why would a cache be labeled "explosives" -- or was it just leftover markings on an ammo can that they're talking about?

 

I'm "troubled" by this comment:

 

Haagen said he is troubled by geocachers leaving unmarked packages on public property.

 

Of course, it was marked... it was apparently marked "explosives!" :lol:

 

My caches are both hidden so that they could not arouse suspicion and marked with basic identifying information in case they are not rehidden as found. I think law enforcement has enough to deal with. I disagree, though, with the opinion the folks quoted in the article express about caches on public land.

 

-JP

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I have started moving away from ammo cans to clear plastic containers for just this reason. If they can see the contents inside, they most likely wont blow it up.

 

If I do happen to use an ammo can, I am sure to either remove or cover any "explosives" markings prior to use.

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I have started moving away from ammo cans to clear plastic containers for just this reason. If they can see the contents inside, they most likely wont blow it up.

 

If I do happen to use an ammo can, I am sure to either remove or cover any "explosives" markings prior to use.

Yeah, it's easy to paint over that, or just plain stick a big fat geocaching sticker over that.

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Haagen said he is troubled by geocachers leaving unmarked packages on public property.

 

“If they’re going to put things like that out in public, where people are going to find it or someone who isn’t playing is going to stumble across it, it’s going to look suspicious, especially in a park or somewhere like that,” Haagen said. “They should be getting permission first … advising the municipality or the parks department or asking for permission to do that, so people are aware if you come across one.”

 

At a minimum, Haagen would hope geocachers would mark their drop boxes so law enforcement would know who to call should one turn up unexpectedly.

 

I agree, agree, and agree. I think the police did the right thing.

 

Caches should be clearly marked as such, they should have, at an absolute minimum:

 

THIS IS A GEOCACHE

www.geocaching.com

(waypoint code)

(coordinates)

 

Contact: (placer's name)

(placer's email)

(placer's cell phone number)

 

And if you got permission to place the thing, it probably wouldn't hurt to write "This container placed with the permission of (whatever)." in multiple places on the container.

 

Detectives hope to track down the person who planted the cache.

 

Oh boy. I wouldn't want to be THAT guy.

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labeling it clearly as a geocache may or may not help, but leaving the military markings on an ammo box is pretty dumb, especially one in a popular park. I'd say at least half the ammo boxes I find still have the military markings. How long does it take to sand them off or squirt a little spraypaint over them? Sheesh!

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Yeah, it's easy to paint over that, or just plain stick a big fat geocaching sticker over that.

I'm thinking of your last spray painting experience and trying ot square that with the word "easy." :lol:

 

However, I agree. There are a number of things you really have to think about for a hide. It doesn't hurt to take a look at your location and your cache and just think: "how suspicious does this look?" and "what will happen as soon as some official finds this?"

 

I have not had explicit permission for any of my hides, so that excludes me from marking my caches with a note such as PlasteredDragon suggests. All I can do is leave identifying info. Which, really, ought to be enough for my hides.

 

Nobody would really want to blow up any place where I've hidden my caches. My caches are more likely to be mistaken for "drug stashes" -- whatever that is.

 

It seems that whatever the predominant fear of the community is, that's how people will interpret an unknown container.

 

While it certainly is possible that a bomber might leave a bomb in the places geocachers hide caches (and law enforcement has to treat these finds professionally), look at what the Unabomber did. He didn't hide his bombs in strange places.

 

An exploding notebook placed on a desk in a computer lab.

An exploding 2x4 with nails through it placed in a parking space as if it is there ot puncture tires.

An exploding shopping bag placed where the customers of a computer store would walk by.

 

He camoflaged them as other items and placed them where regular folks would definitely touch them (exactly the opposite of what a geocacher does).

 

-JP

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I had the mis/fortune to help out as official canoe wrangler and fishing pole rigger for a trip my nephew's scout troop went on. When another adult mentioned that geocaching would be a great activity for a trip and that most caches were placed in ammo cans, the first comment from another adult was "So they look like bombs?" I did not say a word about caching at all. People are paranoid, or just have listened to too much hype on TV. Clear containers are better.

 

Having learned my lesson by loading canoes on the roof of my car about 6 times, sleeping on the ground in a tent. having a Gypsy Moth caterpillar crawling on me in my sleeping bag where I don't want bugs to crawl, and forgetting to bring my bottle of Advil, I left after the campfire on Saturday night. I heard the kids asked "Where's Mr. X?" on Sunday morning, and they were told: "The bears got him."

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Yeah, it's easy to paint over that, or just plain stick a big fat geocaching sticker over that.

I'm thinking of your last spray painting experience and trying ot square that with the word "easy." :lol:

I can see I'm not going to live that down anytime soon.

 

Whaddya want? PlasteredDragon's specialties are drinking massive quantities of pink champagne, scaring off the bad guys, belching, and passing out at parties without squishing any of the partygoers.

 

Spraypainting just isn't on the list.

 

Back on topic, I really like ammo cans, but I understand the desire to move away from them. But they are so darn sturdy!

 

On the matter of marking a cache, let me ask a question. Suppose you find a cache and the cache container is completely unmarked. If you have a permanent marker, should *you* mark the container? Y'know, considering it to be doing your part for the geocaching community?

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Where do people figure that ammo can's look like bombs? The only bombs I've seen (On TV admittedly) all look like brief cases, nukes, bundled sticks of dynamite, Postal boxes, and pipes.

 

Real Bombs that I have read about or heard about in the news have included pipes, box trucks, and clear plastic containers, shoes, people (suicice bombers), and cars.

 

Things that have beem reported as bombs. Boxes of personal effects, Briefcases, Laptops Computers....

 

People are taking a leap of faith to assume that an ammo can looks like a bomb.

 

Edit: Added some more real news examples.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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...Clear containers are better....

Given that ammo cans are sturdy, can survive a fire, waterproof and so on I don't agree. All clear containers are better for is paranoia. They also still get blown up and reported as bombs. Since they are chepaer than ammo cans and come in more shapes and sizes they are also more likely to get used as bomb by someone hell bent on that path.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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Where do people figure that ammo can's look like bombs? The only bombs I've seen (On TV admittedly) all look like brief cases, nukes, bundled sticks of dynamite, Postal boxes, and pipes.

 

Real Bombs that I have read about or heard about in the news have included pipes, box trucks, and clear plastic containers, and shoes.

 

Things that have beem reported as bombs. Boxes of personal effects, Briefcases, Laptops Computers....

 

People are taking a leap of faith to assume that an ammo can looks like a bomb.

I agree with RK in that the box itself isnt the problem. A bomber/terrorist would tend to use a container that better fit the surroundings he wanted to place it in. Im thinking that the olive drab color and any military markings left on it are what gives it it's threatening appearance. People associate this color and those markings with the military and therefore want to assume that the can could be dangerous.

 

Its probably best to just give in and paint your can! :laughing:

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...Clear containers are better....

Given that ammo cans are stury, can survive a fire, waterproof and so on I don't agree. All clear containers are better for is paranoia. They also still get blown up and reported as bombs. Since they are chepaer than ammo cans and come in more shapes and sizes they are also more likely to get used as bomb by someone hell bent on that path.

EVERYTHING in a park will eventually be found by someone - either a visitor, or park maintenance folks as was the case here. If this were a clear plastic container, it would most likely have been looked at and either left alone or removed as refuse. Perhaps you missed the sentence about the Xray not working on the ammo can? That left no choice but to open it by force. At least with a clear plastic container there's a *chance* that an incident won't escalate to this level. No so with an ammo can. I always use plastic on hides in high traffic areas or public areas like parks. Ammo cans are fine for the woods where I can't get to them often, but not in the easy-to-get-to locations where replacement takes just a few minutes. And it's just common sense to cover or remove the military markings on an ammo can. A total investment of $3 for a can of spray paint should cover at least 10-20 ammo cans, many more if you just paint the markings and not the whole can.

 

It would be interesting to see how many hides like this would exist if the cache owners were forced to put their real name and a contact phone number or email address on the cache. If you're not willing to put that info on your hides, chances are you shouldn't be placing the hide to begin with.

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I agree with RK in that the box itself isnt the problem. A bomber/terrorist would tend to use a container that better fit the surroundings he wanted to place it in. Im thinking that the olive drab color and any military markings left on it are what gives it it's threatening appearance. People associate this color and those markings with the military and therefore want to assume that the can could be dangerous.

 

Its probably best to just give in and paint your can!  :laughing:

There are several problems here -

 

First, let me say, GOOD. It should have been blown up. It wasn't too bright (given the ongoing terrorism paranoia) to place an ammo can in the middle of a public park. An ammo can, afterall, is a FORMER EXPLOSIVES CONTAINER.

 

Lets all admit it - we're not going to ask permission to place something in a public area - 1) Who would we ask? 2) Who's going to take the responsibility to say "Yes" 3) It's no fun to ask permission.

 

The cacher should have been smarter about this - seriously. The general rules for such a hide should be something along these lines:

 

If you're placing a cache on public land, in a place where it is likely to be seen as a threat to the general public:

 

1) Make it small

2) Make it clear - see through

3) Don't use anything that the military has *ever* used (I think tupperware is probably safe - but a micro cache is probably smarter)

4) Mark it WELL.

5) Hide it well.

 

If all else fails and you want to hide something in a public park, maybe make it a Multicache or and Offset cache - the published coordinates could be to the public park, and that microcache leads you to a larger cache where people could exchange TBs and Sign the Log, etc.

 

It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

 

Bottom Line: We've got to be smarter about this. If this keeps up, Law Enforcement is going to see us as a threat to the peace, and then lawmakers are going to pass laws that make it illegal to do what we do.

 

Blessings!

FatherPippy

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Lets all admit it - we're not going to ask permission to place something in a public area - 1) Who would we ask? 2) Who's going to take the responsibility to say "Yes" 3) It's no fun to ask permission.

 

WHOAH!!!!!!!!!

 

Every cache I have placed so far, I have received permission from the agency that governs or maintains the land. Or at the very least was told by an official from the agence that permission was not required.

 

I have worked with both the local park districts and the forest preserve districts. In each case there is a superintendant that takes the responsibility for approving caches.

 

Many of the forest preserves and national parks in IL have an application and approval process for placing caches and all the cachers I have talked to advocate getting permission and working with the district.

 

If I misunderstood your coments, I appologize, but permission is ALWAYS the way to go.

 

Kyle

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(I think tupperware is probably safe - but a micro cache is probably smarter)

Wait.. So any cache that's going to be in a place where people will ever go (wait, that means every cache, since they're designed to take people directly to their location) should be micros? :laughing: Fat chance of that ever happening.

 

See, my two red lights in this entire situation are the following.. #1 the cacher was too lazy to remove the military markings. and #2 chances probably are that the cacher didn't discuss this with the land manager to let them know that caches were being hidden in this location.

 

If people know about caching, the land managers know where caching is *and tell their staff*, etc, there would be a lot fewer issues like this.

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Ack - no. You're right. I was trying to be Flippant. Sorry for the confusion. Belay my last - ALWAYS ask for permission...

 

Second - no - you don't always have to use a Micro - BUT it would have been less threatening in this situation...

 

The Ammo Can was obviously placed somewhere where it could be deemed a threat (so says the article) - all I'm saying is that if you're going to hide something in a public place, better safe than blown up.

 

Re-reading the article, I'm struck by the importance of the Geocacher's Creed, especially that part about "Avoid causing disruptions or public alarm" - http://www.geocreed.info

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That may be the case, but at least your butt will be covered if it happens.

 

If it happens, and the police track you down, it would be a whole lot better for you if you are able to say "I had permission- call so and so and they will tell you they gave me permission to place the cache there" That is a whole lot better than "Nobody told me I couldn't put it there"

 

If you have permission, you have done your part. You can't help if the person that gave you permission failed to let the rest of the staff know about it.

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we're not going to ask permission to place something in a public area - 1) Who would we ask? 2) Who's going to take the responsibility to say "Yes" 3) It's no fun to ask permission.

 

Why not??? This should be standard practice, especially in a location such as this. Had permission been sought, they managing agency would've been able to say "this is what it is and we're aware of it's presence".

 

Fun or not, we should ALWAYS be contacting the land owner/manager for permission. To cover our own butts and as a matter of just being responsible. Otherwise, we risk areas getting shut down to use for geocaching.

 

I agree however, that the military markings should have been removed/obscured and the cache clearly labelled as such on the outside of the container. The Groundspeak store has nice, big, green labels for just that purpose :laughing:

Edited by wandererrob
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2)  Make it clear - see through

3)  Don't use anything that the military has *ever* used (I think tupperware is probably safe - but a micro cache is probably smarter)

And yet, you're trying to sell ammocans to geocachers? :laughing:

 

If all else fails and you want to hide something in a public park, maybe make it a Multicache or and Offset cache - the published coordinates could be to the public park, and that microcache leads you to a larger cache where people could exchange TBs and Sign the Log, etc.

Oh yeah, the cache that was blown up WAS a multicache

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Umm, no on all counts.

 

Lets all admit it - we're not going to ask permission to place something in a public area

 

I've asked permission on all my hides and I think those that don't are asking for trouble. If one's sole reason for not asking permission is "I think they'll probably say NO." then IMHO you believe you don't have permission and you shouldn't place the cache unless you are prepared to accept the consequences of that action.

 

1) Who would we ask?

 

This is a public park. All towns and cities have park boards. You contact a representative of the park board. It takes all of 10 minutes to find out whom you should talk to.

 

When the irate police seargent finally catches up with the cache owner to ask who said he could place a suspicious looking box under the steps of the bandstand in the town park, you can bet your bottom dollar that the cacher will be a lot better off if he can say "Joe Jones, the chairman of the park board." At least then the cop has another place to vent his anger.

 

2) Who's going to take the responsibility to say "Yes"

 

My first three caches were placed in a wooded public park not far from where I live. I contacted the local recreation director for my town, at his urging drafted a formal letter, and got myself added to the agenda of the next meeting of the town park board. I went to the meeting with a GPS unit, and an ammo box containing an example cache, printouts from geocaching.com showing other caches nearby, and stood in front of the park board and told them all about it.

 

They were all ordinary people just like you and me who (surprise, surprise) like to do outdoor activities... that's why they're on the park board.

 

I was able to allay any concerns they had and it's a good thing I did talk to them. It turned out that a section of the park in question was used for paintball activities. I had no idea. It would have really sucked if some cachers got shot with paintballs because I didn't know about that at the time I placed the caches. By working with the park board I was able to select the hides with the least possible impact to the other activities that take place in the park.

 

3) It's no fun to ask permission.

 

Was it fun to get permission? Ermm. Well I guess not, I was pretty nervous because I didn't know what to expect, and I was afraid they would just say "no" out of hand. Then I was self conscious standing in front of an official looking board of officials with an audience behind me.

 

But a lot of good things came out of it.

 

Watching the board members smile when I showed them the cute toys in the cache, watching them (and members of the audience) get turned on by the idea, having a guy come up to me after the meeting and say "That sounds like a lot of fun! What was that website again?" And finally the immense satisfaction that I was in a room with everyone even remotely associated with parks in my town, from the guys who sweep up the trash to the guys who set the rules. Now they ALL know me, and they know about geocaching. In a large way I think I've made the way easier for myself and other cachers to place caches around town in the future.

 

People occasionally write in my cache logs that they bumped into park board members while looking for the caches, and the park board members recognize the GPS unit and know what they are doing, say hello, and talk to the geocachers in the field. This reassures those officials that we're not a bunch of whackos or yahoos tearing up public places or otherwise getting up to mischief in their park.

 

Giving the board members the URL for those specific caches allows them to see just how carefully park rules are explained, and all the great photos and comments that people post: "I'm coming back to this park." "This is a beautiful place!" "I've lived here for 10 years and I didn't even know this park was here."

 

I can't imagine how this could be anything but pleasing and positive for our cherished hobby, and it never would have happened if I didn't seek permission.

 

The alternative could have been someone may have just found a military style metal box hidden under a rock in the park, got nervy and called the cops, and the next thing you know, geocaching is strictly forbidden in my community's public parks, and gets a negative image for those officials who may someday move on to higher office or offices in other towns.

 

I wrote about getting permission to place those caches on my blog, and I include there the letter I wrote to the recreation director. Some of you may have read it before, but just in case if anyone is curious--I think it is a nice story: Homes for Dragons

 

On the matter of asking permission, I say ask. Yes they could say no. It's a big world, there will be other places for you to hide a cache... and you could still use your cherished location for an offset cache as long as there is no physical container hidden there.

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...EVERYTHING in a park will eventually be found by someone - either a visitor, or park maintenance folks as was the case here. If this were a clear plastic container, it would most likely have been looked at and either left alone or removed as refuse. Perhaps you missed the sentence about the Xray not working on the ammo can?...

Let me be very clear on this. Ammo cans are about the best container for geocaching that exists. Period.

 

That an X-ray can penetrate it or not doesn't mean a lot. We don't leave these around for the purpose of providing practice for the bomb squad. Prevention isn't using plastic, it's hiding your geocache where it won't be found by a muggle, or if it is won't be reported as a bomb. From what I can tell the perception of the accidental finder is key. My cache that was reported (ammo can to be specific) was reported as a drug stash. Not a bomb. That's beyond my control. How it's reported seems to make a big difference. However once reported it's protocal, that drives what happens next.

 

Back to the X-ray. They will x-ray it and try to determin if it's a bomb or not. They don't take chances. If they see a McToy with a wire in it...they will blow it up. The last great geocache bomb story was a plastic container placed with explicit permission. The last finder saw the commotion and told the responders that it was a cache and offered to go open it. They were told "no" and the authorities proceeded to shoot it with a 50cal water type gun anyway.

 

Again let me be very clear on this. Ammo cans are not the problem. Perception, markings, etc. make a difference (in how it's reported, not to the responders who will follow protocal). All plastic does is make some paranoid people feel better, but so far it really hasn't led to a different result when the cache is reported. Remember my one cache that was reported wasn't blown up, it was an ammo can, and it was painted "Geocache". That didn't stop Joe Citizen from reporting it. The ammo can debate aside I really have not found a park that supports a container of that size so my park caches were smaller and things like Racquetball containers and decon containers (also military looking).

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....1) Make it small

Um.. No. You make it the largest container the area can support. In urban areas that tends to be small.

2)  Make it clear - see through

The real goal is that the container isn't found. Camo can help. Nobody is going to report a fake sprinker, a fake eletrical box etc. Clear is a 'feel good' thing and nothing more.

3)  Don't use anything that the military has *ever* used (I think tupperware is probably safe - but a micro cache is probably smarter)

The military actually makes some great geocaching containers. Ammo cans are cheap and there is nothing better. Military match containers are a better color than walmart orange. Military First Aid kits are nice and fail your criteria but again they make good containers. As for micros see #1 above, besides I've never been in a location worth a cache that a Decon container would not fit in instead of a micro.

4)  Mark it WELL.

Agreed. Not for the sake of the responders, but for the sake of the person who is about to make the phone call. Responders follow protocal. Informers follow their gut feeling, which in my experinece is more about panic than about common cents.

5)  Hide it well....

Agreed. What isn't found, isn't reported.

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The primary complaint by the officer in this story was not that the cache was an ammocan, but that it was unmarked. So, since nobody answered before, I'm going to ask again:

 

Suppose you find a cache and the cache container is completely unmarked. If you have a permanent marker, should *you* mark the container? Y'know, considering it to be doing your part for the geocaching community?

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The primary complaint by the officer in this story was not that the cache was an ammocan, but that it was unmarked. So, since nobody answered before, I'm going to ask again:

 

Suppose you find a cache and the cache container is completely unmarked. If you have a permanent marker, should *you* mark the container? Y'know, considering it to be doing your part for the geocaching community?

The officer would have responded the same either way if he was trained correctly. Any bomber can mark a container "Geocache" in hopes of having his real bomb undected and unreported. Thats why I don't have an issue wiht a cache being reported and being blown up. It's just being restricted on what to use for a cache or having the liberty of being able to enjoy an activity taken away because of paranoia over terrorism.

 

To answer your question. I would not mind but I would like your handwriting to be better than mine. :laughing:

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I'm not an explosive expert, but I think that regardless of the size of the cache, it could potentially be viewed by a muggle as a bomb. Anytime a muggle sees something out of norm such as a suspicious person hiding something, it raises their hackles. No matter what we do, there's always will be some risk involved in placing a cache. contacting the managing authority works on a limited basis, ie if that person is around, doesn't retire or change jobs. All we can do is try to do everything right and hope for the best. I have a few finds now, and trying to determine a site for a cache myself. My area is pretty saturated .

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I agree with Renegade Knight.

 

A number of factors will not have any effect on whether your cache is blown up. Container type, permission and markings won't necessarily do it.

 

If you don't want to cause a stir, make your cache tough for muggles to find. If it's only natural that a muggle is going to find your cache because of where you've placed it, then maybe you picked a bad place.

 

Also: rehide carefully! Do not try to make a cache easier for the next people. You may inadvertently be causing trouble if you don't rehide well enough.

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The primary complaint by the officer in this story was not that the cache was an ammocan, but that it was unmarked.  So, since nobody answered before, I'm going to ask again:

 

Suppose you find a cache and the cache container is completely unmarked. If you have a permanent marker, should *you* mark the container? Y'know, considering it to be doing your part for the geocaching community?

good heavens no.

 

If you really think a cache is a problem then report is as such to the reviewers. You can do this when you log your visit to the cache. For type of visit you select "Needs Archived". This doesn't archive anything, it gets a message sent to the local reviewers who will look into the matter and archive it if they feel the cache warrants such action.

 

Generally in all areas of life one will never be appreciated by taking other people's matters into their own hands. It is actually a form of tyranny. Of course I am not calling you a tyrant, and your question is proper to ask, but stop and consider what it would be like if everyone started modifying other people's caches to fit what they believed was "proper".

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If you really think a cache is a problem then report is as such to the reviewers. You can do this when you log your visit to the cache. For type of visit you select "Needs Archived". This doesn't archive anything, it gets a message sent to the local reviewers who will look into the matter and archive it if they feel the cache warrants such action.

Interesting. I was about to compose a post saying "As a reviewer, I don't have the authority to do that..." when I remembered this section of the listing guidelines (with emphasis added):

 

For all cache types please be sensible when choosing your location for cache placement. Please be aware of what may be a perceived to a non geocacher as dangerous or questionable behavior. For example, suspicious looking characters wandering about near an elementary school. The land may be public property, but keep in mind what is on the other side of that property line. Also, clearly label your physical containers on the outside with appropriate information to reduce the risk of your cache being perceived as a danger to those that are unaware of our sport.

 

As they arrive by the dozens every day, I have read every single "should be archived" log posted worldwide for at least the past year, maybe a little longer. I can honestly say that I have *never* seen anyone request that a cache be archived because it's not properly labeled. Yet arguably, because the issue is addressed in the listing guidelines -- which I *do* have the authority to enforce -- I suppose that I could react to such a request.

 

I'd prefer, however, for such problems to be worked out with the cache owner if at all possible. I'd like to avoid being the cache container police. Sending an e-mail saying "hey, your ammo box has military markings on it - you should really paint over those" or "hi, I enjoyed your new cache, but I noticed there was no contact information provided anywhere" would be a lot friendlier and more practical. As the reviewer, I haven't seen the container or the environment in which it's placed. And cache archival is a pretty drastic remedy. Perhaps this is another good example of why a separate "needs attention" log, short of requesting archival, might be a fine site enhancement.

 

So, I don't think I'd up and archive a cache just because it didn't have a label. But if the facts warrant, I could get involved by writing a note to the cache owner as a last resort: "There have been three complaints about your use of a PVC pipe as a cache container in plain sight less than 20 feet from the paved bike path in this busy park. Could you re-think that container choice, or label it as a geocache with your contact info., as suggested by the listing guidelines?"

 

Thanks for making me think about this. I'd never considered that precise issue before.

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clearly label your physical containers on the outside with appropriate information to reduce the risk of your cache being perceived as a danger to those that are unaware of our sport.

 

This could be seen as a device to get you to purchase the geocahing cache container sticker.

Yes, and controlling the entire supply chain for Sharpie markers is the next step in the overall plan for world domination through subversive religion masquerading as science. If only a few more Signal the Frog antenna balls could be sold, the dream can be realized.

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This is why - when I placed my airport cache so VERY close to the local international airport, I made DARN sure to spray-paint the ammo can a nice shade of dark blue.

 

ALSO... I noticed the nearby building with office windows... so I paid 'em a visit... turns out they were a military recruiting office! They thanked me for letting them know about the geocache. It coulda been pretty dramatic otherwise... Imagine that whole building full of military personnel vs. one innocent ammo can!

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...EVERYTHING in a park will eventually be found by someone - either a visitor, or park maintenance folks as was the case here.  If this were a clear plastic container, it would most likely have been looked at and either left alone or removed as refuse.  Perhaps you missed the sentence about the Xray not working on the ammo can?...

Let me be very clear on this. Ammo cans are about the best container for geocaching that exists. Period.

 

That an X-ray can penetrate it or not doesn't mean a lot.

 

{snip} They will x-ray it and try to determin if it's a bomb or not. They don't take chances. If they see a McToy with a wire in it...they will blow it up.

{snip}

Again let me be very clear on this. Ammo cans are not the problem. Perception, markings, etc. make a difference (in how it's reported, not to the responders who will follow protocal). All plastic does is make some paranoid people feel better, but so far it really hasn't led to a different result when the cache is reported.

Ammo cans are a great waterproof, long lasting container, yes. And they have their place, which is IN THE WOODS. Not in parks or public areas. You're absolutely correct in that perception is everything and the fate of the cache resides with the person who finds it. If that person sees a metal can, they're more likely to think bomb/drugs/"Holy crap the army left a can of bullets here!". If they see tupperware, (especially the see thru kind) they're more likely to think somone's lunch/trash/or Gee wonder what that is?

 

If they open it up, GREAT! Worst case is they take it with them. But if they don't, then things can escalate. Once the cops are called, you're right, pretty much whatever is there is disposed of as a threat, unless they can see that it obviously isn't. (and only plastic, not metal allows that possibility).

 

Don't get me wrong, I love ammo cans. I have hides in the woods using ammo cans. But parks and public areas that are potential terrorist targets are not a good place for military-looking "can't see what's in 'em" containers of any sort - OR for PVC pipe containers either. regardless of how great a container is from a structural/waterproof point of view, you still need to consider how great it is (or isn't) from a muggle's point of view. And yes, labeling is very important.

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...Ammo cans are a great waterproof, long lasting container, yes. And they have their place, which is IN THE WOODS. Not in parks or public areas. You're absolutely correct in that perception is everything and the fate of the cache resides with the person who finds it. If that person sees a metal can, they're more likely to think bomb/drugs/"Holy crap the army left a can of bullets here!". If they see tupperware, (especially the see thru kind) they're more likely to think somone's lunch/trash/or Gee wonder what that is?...

Ammo can's can be placed anywhere they can appropriately fit. I paint my cans and I paint my tupperware. After all the #1 method of prevention is that muggles don't find the cache and report it.

 

I pretty much catagoricly reject the notion that a metal container is "bad" and a plastic one is "good" Ditton on the Clear vs. Opaque issue. The worse animal damage Iv'e seen has been on urban caches that were used as a chewtoy. Metal containers can take the abuse.

 

The cache I had reported was an ammo can. It was placed near a trail by a lake in the woods. Go figure. My urban ammo cans were stolen. That has done more to dissuade me from placing them than anything else. Oh and peoples lunches have been reported before.

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#1 the cacher was too lazy to remove the military markings.

I didn't see the cache container, and I'm fairly sure none of us here have either, but the cache owner wrote this in his log:

 

It had been missing for two weeks, so I don't know how far it had moved and who had handled it since then. I had hidden it pretty well the first time around, but it must have been found and tossed out in the open somewhere else by a muggle. I certainly hadn't put anything on it that said "explosive" on it. I wonder where exactly the park employees found it.

 

I also want to note that I had placed a homemade "www.geocaching.com" sticker on the outside, which wasn't mentioned; maybe it had already been peeled off by the muggle.

 

I'd like if the cache owner would read this thread and comment. It'd be good to hear his side of the story.

 

Jamie

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An addendum to something that's already been said here; Folks tend to join bomb squads because they like blowing stuff up. Any time they can break out their toys to destroy a "suspicious" package, they're going to, not because they honestly think there might be a bomb inside, but because it's what they like to do. Blowing up "suspicious" packages gives credibility to their existance.

 

From my experience with EOD & bomb squad types, I think it's safe to say that package would've got nuked even if it was made out of clear glass. One thing that bothered me was the assumption that the agency's X-ray machine failed to penetrate the ammo can. That's a load of malarky. Any EOD X-ray device will easilly penetrate an ammo can. An acurate statement would've been, "We were unable to determine the contents with our X-ray device".

 

I agree with what seems to be the predominant thoughts here:

Get permission

Hide it well

Mark it well

Ammo cans rule

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<snip>

I'd like if the cache owner would read this thread and comment. It'd be good to hear his side of the story.

 

Jamie

There are a lot of unanswered questions here.

 

At a minimum, Haagen would hope geocachers would mark their drop boxes so law enforcement would know who to [contact] should one turn up unexpectedly.

 

“It would help to some degree, if it were marked and we knew who the owner was,” Haagen said. “That was part of the problem, too, today. We didn’t know who it belonged to as far as making a contact and having them confirm this was part of their game.

 

“If it were clearly labeled, that would have been a big help. This was our first experience with this.”

 

How do they know this is a geocache?

 

Inside the container, police found several small toys, small printed disks traded by kids and a notebook logging the people who found the cache. Detectives hope to track down the person who planted the cache.

 

Do none of the police in De Pere know how to use a computer?

 

The package, discovered about 10 a.m. by a public works employee cutting grass, was a metal ammo can with the word “explosives” on the side, said Brown County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John Gossage.

 

It had been missing for two weeks, so I don't know how far it had moved and who had handled it since then. I had hidden it pretty well the first time around, but it must have been found and tossed out in the open somewhere else by a muggle. I certainly hadn't put anything on it that said "explosive" on it. I wonder where exactly the park employees found it.

 

I also want to note that I had placed a homemade "www.geocaching.com" sticker on the outside, which wasn't mentioned; maybe it had already been peeled off by the muggle.

 

How did the word explosives get on the ammo can?

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An addendum to something that's already been said here; Folks tend to join bomb squads because they like blowing stuff up. Any time they can break out their toys to destroy a "suspicious" package, they're going to, not because they honestly think there might be a bomb inside, but because it's what they like to do. Blowing up "suspicious" packages gives credibility to their existance.

<snip>

Thats not exactly the same as but along the same line of thinking that firefighters tend to be arsonist. ;)

 

so technicians used a robot-mounted shotgun to blast the lid off.

 

With the top peeled back, police could see the package was not a threat.

 

They didn't blow up the cache they used a shot gun to open it.

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I only read 3/4 of the posts, so forgive me if this has been stated but I have to ask what kind of explosives team is not familiar with Geocaching? The hider says he had it marked as a Geocache but even if he didn't, or the identifying information was removed I still have a problem with the fact that the explosives team would be oblivious to the sport and not wonder if they had found a cache.

 

Granted, if it was unmarked I guess it is better to play it safe....plus, come on blowing stuff up is fun!

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<snip>

I'd like if the cache owner would read this thread and comment. It'd be good to hear his side of the story.

 

Jamie

There are a lot of unanswered questions here.

 

At a minimum, Haagen would hope geocachers would mark their drop boxes so law enforcement would know who to [contact] should one turn up unexpectedly.

 

“It would help to some degree, if it were marked and we knew who the owner was,” Haagen said. “That was part of the problem, too, today. We didn’t know who it belonged to as far as making a contact and having them confirm this was part of their game.

 

“If it were clearly labeled, that would have been a big help. This was our first experience with this.”

 

How do they know this is a geocache?

 

Inside the container, police found several small toys, small printed disks traded by kids and a notebook logging the people who found the cache. Detectives hope to track down the person who planted the cache.

 

Do none of the police in De Pere know how to use a computer?

 

The package, discovered about 10 a.m. by a public works employee cutting grass, was a metal ammo can with the word “explosives” on the side, said Brown County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy John Gossage.

 

It had been missing for two weeks, so I don't know how far it had moved and who had handled it since then. I had hidden it pretty well the first time around, but it must have been found and tossed out in the open somewhere else by a muggle. I certainly hadn't put anything on it that said "explosive" on it. I wonder where exactly the park employees found it.

 

I also want to note that I had placed a homemade "www.geocaching.com" sticker on the outside, which wasn't mentioned; maybe it had already been peeled off by the muggle.

 

How did the word explosives get on the ammo can?

I don't think there are that many unanswered questions.

 

Your first: Ahh, haven't you seen a 'stash note'? Very clearly identifies caches.

 

Your second: I bet they do (why does everyone think all cops are stupid?), but on this site everyone uses a pseudonym. You're "Bushwhacked Glenn", but that's not a positive ID for police, who are you really? (No, I don't expect an answer) That interview was probably given right after the 'event' so nobody had time to track the user name - I'm sure TPTB will co-operate and give what info the detectives want.

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