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Explaining Geocaching to the Police Officer


Trizumi
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I had a fun thing happen to me today. I had to explain what Geocaching is all about to two Scottsdale Arizona police officers with hands on their guns. Turns out the park, where the cache was hidden, has had a problem with someone showing body parts to women without their consent. As you can guess, the police officers had a hard time understanding why I was standing behind a tree with a GPSr in my hand. The best part of it was when one officer kept asking me "What is purpose of Geocaching". I kept telling him "I am looking for Tupperware with a piece of paper in it. After I find the tupperware container, I look for some paper in that container so I can put my signature on it". :D

 

What is your most "exciting" police related adventure?

Edited by Trizumi
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yeah i had one,of all times on my very first cache,but it was cool:went to toto creek,found it and was comin out of the woods all july sweaty,a county deputy rides by and see me,when he's a sittin at the end of the boat ramp,i figure he's goin to pull me when i leave anyway yaknow,so i wipe the ticks off and drive over to him and say to em"i know it looked shifty me comin out of them woods and all,i thought i'd tell ya what im up to",he sez"i know what ya doin ,tryin to find that green box","i know whats goin on around here",as he holds up and shakes his garmin.so after a introduction and a chat ,it was a good experience.hope all the rest of my encounters are the same.HAD FUN!!! :D HOPE ALL YAW DO TOO!!! :D

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I had a deputy "turn around on me" whilst I was coming back from a quick FTF p&g off a lonely county road in a creek bed in s. indiana. Since he seemed to be obviously stopping to check me out ( I assumed he thought I was broke down), I went up to him and said hello.

 

He says, "Did you find it?" I said "yes, but it is a not where you'd think it is... the coords put it across the creek" (really small creek). <_<

 

"I guess I'm too late for the FTF then" (or something like that) And "I was wondering if it would be safe for my kids (they were in the car)- is it close to the creek?" "No need to go near the water", I said.

 

I watched as his kids found it for STF.

 

Most law enforcement encounters are not bad ones.

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Last Dec. I was caching in Palm Springs and had just found a cache at the back of a mall a camoed pill container as I walked to my car and pulled the container out of the camo,who should appear but a Riverside County Deputy Sheriff LOL all he was interested in was the pill container.As soon as he found out it was nothing illegal he lost all interest. <_<:(<_<

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I can't remember the forum and don't wish to spend time searching to Markwell this, but there was an informal survey of the jobs of geocachers and police officers were pretty high on the list (as was computers/tech people (as most people expect), fire and emergency personnel and teachers). I think the idea with the police, fire personnel, etc. was experience searching in the woods and all that.

 

So it may not be so unusual for the cop to be familiar with caching after all.

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I have had several and I'm surprised not more. One of my hides is even right under a camera used by the police to watch the downtown area.

 

One time I was on the edge of a gang territory and didn't know it. When the cop came I started talking first and told him he did not need to worry why I was sneaking around an abandoned building. He said he wasn't worried about what I was doing at all, but by looking at me he was worried about what the area might be doing to me after dark. He helped me find the cache and then we went on our ways... Upon posting my log, the owner disabled the cache.

 

Another time, the cop was helping, and when another drove by to check up on the solo guy, they joined too. The next thing you know i am with 4 cops looking for it. I found it first.

 

I have others as well, and every time I wonder why so many cops don't know about this. Even my neighbor who is FBI was not aware of it.

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at the end of the day police will stop and have a chat, they will only get suspicious if you act all devious and like you have something to hide. tell them the truth and the chances are you'll have a convert.

 

worst case is that they will watch out for other cachers cars at that spot. while thinking we are slightly nuts for doing it!

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while thinking we are slightly nuts for doing it!

 

This is how the officer responded to me when I told him about caching. The funniest part about my meeting was I was just talking about this very subject with another cacher the day before.

Edited by Trizumi
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I have others as well, and every time I wonder why so many cops don't know about this. Even my neighbor who is FBI was not aware of it.

Tell him to read his own intel bulletins then. Even in the FBI, like everywhere else, 10% don't get the message.

There have been at least 3 nationwide intel alerts put out since 9/11, sent to all LE agencies, explaining geocaching. It's how I got started Geocaching. Basically, the bulletins said that if police see people who act like they're lost, wandering around with a GPS, making circling and back and forth movements, and say they're looking for McToys hidden in tupperware, not to worry, they're just geeks playing an internet game called Geocaching. That's paraphrasing the bulletins maybe a bit. <_<

Edited by Wadcutter
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... Basically, the bulletins said that if police see people who act like they're lost, wandering around with a GPS, making circling and back and forth movements, and say they're looking for McToys hidden in Tupperware, not to worry, they're just geeks playing an Internet game called Geocaching. That's paraphrasing the bulletins maybe a bit. <_<

 

Fortunately, (or unfortunately) the local PD have seen crazier things on their daily routines.

 

I find, that when explaining what I'm doing, I say I'm playing an Internet based scavenger hunt.

If they need more information, I say I'm looking for a container with a logbook to sign. If they still need more that's when I get into the concept of trade and signature items and identify the sport at Geocaching, making sure I acknowledge that there are dozens of different types of Internet based scavenger hunt type games available.

 

The term Geocaching just seems to case confusion to those not in the know.

 

My team was stopped by the CIA once. This was right after 9/11. The Geocaching term took more explaining then what exactly we were up to.

I haven't had problems since then, but I've also gone out of my way to be prudent of my searches as to not raise suspicions.

 

The police and authorities have better ways to spent their time then inquiring why I'm wandering like an idiot around looking for a broken McDonalds toy. [:(]

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there is a Cache in Oblong IL. 62449 if you do a zip code search it will be the first one.

it is called 4 way .

 

anyway this cache is hid on a bank. on a very busy 4 way stop so it is best to get it at night.

you have to jump up on a window if the cache is in the right spot to grab it also.

sometimes you may be able to get it without jump up.

if you have time it is a fun cache to read logs on.

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I had what is probably my funniest encounter last week while looking for a cache. A friend and I were looking for a micro at a 4-way stop in a town of around 1500ppl after 9pm. There just happens to be a bank at the same area. After just a few minutes the local police drive by and give us "The Eye". Over the next 20 minutes or so he drives back 3 times, watching us all the way as we search around this bank for the cache. Finally he stops and says "You guys are just trying to get my attetion". After explaining what we were doing he started naming off local deputies that also cache. After a few minutes he left and parked a couple blocks away and watched. My guess is that he was laughing at us from afar because we couldn't find it.

 

LCAs-271

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GeoScavenger and i were heading off last March to go into the States for a geocaching trip down the Washington/Oregon coast. The customs officer in Port Angeles asked the purpose of our visit and where we were going....we didn't want to complicate matters so just said "sightseeing". He replied...no way...nobody sightsees the coast in March...what was the real purpose of our visit?

 

So i answered "Do you know what geocaching is?" and he said "Sure do, I know all about it...have a nice trip!"

 

Easiest border crossing ever! :):)

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I have had one run in with the LLE...was Turkey day this year...on our 10 minute ride home from my in laws, where we had dinner, I told my wife...there's a cache in the mall parking lot. she gives me a look of :) so i pull in and dig out my GPSr and let in zone in and then find the waypoint (which I had already downloaded because we were gonna snag this one anyways). So we drive to where it was supposed to be. get out about 100 feet away....my wife stays in the car with my youngest, while my oldest boy (6 yro) go wandering around a deserted mall parking lot. Find the cache and walk back to car to move it closer. while the wife looks over the log, and i try and squeeze my sig item in it....she says "car coming"...so i scramble to get the cache closed up...just as i finish we realize it's the local law enforcement....as he beams me with the spot light I walk up to the window and he asks...everything OK? said fine...then the question i know he's begging to ask....so what are you doing at the back of the mall? you know it's closed right? Said yep...ever heard of geocaching? of course he didn't...so i explain how people hide stuff and post the coords on the Internet for us to try and find...then i point to the cache container and say that's one right there...so he flashes his light on it and asks....so EXACTLY what is hidden in there? I tell him it's just a log...kind of a Kilroy was here type. He said OK with the look of "what planet did you come from?" :) have a good night and drives off.

 

FFof5

Edited by FerrisFamilyof5
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In the past year with just over 500 finds, I've had six (that I can remember) encounters.

The first time was beside a 4-lane highway....a sheriff's cruiser was parked exactly where we needed to be. My son (8 yrs old) & I drove by a couple of times then decided to park right behind him. As we prepared to exit the vehicle the officer approached my truck and asked what we were up to. With my Garmin perched on the dash and before I can compose a response my son spills the beans. Officer's response - "don't you know geocaching is illegal around here!" My son starts to cry, but just in the knick of time the officer introduces himself and says "you'll have fun on this one, just be careful around the rocks. Coords are perfect!"

Another time was after midnight (alone) searching the shrubbery near a new office building. I've found it, signed it, and replaced it when the local guys pull in with spotlights blaring. Had to explain my purpose in detail (officer had not heard of our game), pointing in the general direction of the hide, and wait while he called me in for priors (luckily I had none). As I left a second cruiser pulled in and four officers commenced to try & find the micro. Circled around 15 minutes later and they're all still looking! :)

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Ive had a few encounters now and all have gone very well. But one time did have me worried that I may end up paying fines and dealing with courts.

It was at a coffee/donut stop during the Longview Cache Machine Dinner . At the stop was a cache only reachable by boat (Free Dinner ). Well, in Washington, any child on a boat must have a life jacket on, and I was the adult on that paticular trip across to the island with 2 kids in a inflatable raft.

 

BUSTED! A passing fish n game warden hauled me away from the crowd of cachers to write me up. This guy was really worked up...not sure if it was the number of cachers who wanted to talk to him about the situation, or that he didnt know any of the answers to the questions we asked, maybe because he had made the big bust of the day, or perhaps he had to much coffee. But eventually he let me go with a promise to call me in awhile about what to do. I never did get that phone call...hrmm. Life jackets were provided and i heard they told some of the adults they had to wear them too, just so they could laugh at them trying to wear the kid sized jackets. :)

 

to be clear, this is a small, man made park lake. see the pictures before commenting about how dangerous it was. It wasnt! theres one of me getting a hard lesson of the LAW regarding boating. (inflatable rafts included, but not so sure about inner tubes or swimmers :) )

 

My Log

The kids Dads Log

Edited by mudsneaker
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I had been out of my car for less than 5 minutes scouting a spot to hide a cache when I found myself face to face with a county sherrif with hand on holster.

When he asked what I was doing I grinned and asked if he'd heard of geocaching.

He said "no" and did not return the grin.

I told him it's a game that involves using a GPS reciever to look for a box in the woods.

He escorted me back to the car, but informed me that hiding a box there was acceptable, but parking there was absolutely not tollerated, even for 5 minutes.

that is how it came to be known as...

 

No Dam Parking

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I have others as well, and every time I wonder why so many cops don't know about this. Even my neighbor who is FBI was not aware of it.

Tell him to read his own intel bulletins then. Even in the FBI, like everywhere else, 10% don't get the message.

There have been at least 3 nationwide intel alerts put out since 9/11, sent to all LE agencies, explaining geocaching. It's how I got started Geocaching. Basically, the bulletins said that if police see people who act like they're lost, wandering around with a GPS, making circling and back and forth movements, and say they're looking for McToys hidden in tupperware, not to worry, they're just geeks playing an internet game called Geocaching. That's paraphrasing the bulletins maybe a bit. :)

 

Why do I have a feeling "McToys" is the only thing paraphrased? :)

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Just this past week, I was at a local civil war memorial on the outskirts of town, on the way back to my vehicle. When as coming over the hill, I noticed a LLE cruiser blocking my truck in and the officer walking around looking at it. But before I reached the spot he got back in his car and pulled away. Figuring all was OK, I finally reached my truck and prepared to leave. As I was pulling away from the location, I looked ahead and saw the front of the crusier behind some construction equipment. (the town is expanding in all directions even around historical monuments) Before I reached his location he pulled off again, this made my worry meter start to beep. It wasn't until I got home that I noticed the note under my wiper blade asking if I found the cache I was looking for. I guess he noticed the cache description pages lying on the seat when he was checking out my truck. Worry meter auto shut-off. WHEEW!! :(

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As a female cacher with 600 finds, I have never had an encounter with a law enforcement officer while caching. I wonder if female cachers in general have fewer problems....

 

I've not been at it as long - about 4 months, 115 finds - but I've wondered that myself; I'm sure that to most people, a sub 5' 40-something female just doesn't appear to be any sort of threat. :D

And I KNOW that there are situations where, if I hadn't had the dogs with me, I'd've gathered notice; as it is, if I pull up somewhere, hop out with a dog, and proceed to walk back and forth, the immediate assumption is the dog has to pee, and I basically become invisible. :(

 

I did have one sort-of-LEO-encounter when I'd just started out. It was with a cache where the coordinates are a bit wonky (noted in repeated logs), and the hide area puts searchers in an area where NOBODY would otherwise go - behind a privacy screen of evergreen trees, right on the fence lines of three private homes, within 30-40 feet of two of the homes, and overlooking one home's swimming pool.

The third home has dogs which, according to previous logs, have been agitated by the presence of strangers (they weren't out in the yard the time I was there).

The area is at the back corner of a private museum's parking lot, where there are normally no cars, so it's not even like anyone would walk past there going through the neighborhood, etc.

 

In any case, I went looking, felt uncomfortable being that invasively close to private homes**, and left to look for another cache a couple of blocks away, which I found quickly.

After checking the logs and finding a different set of coordinates, I went back, about 10 minutes later, to look on the parking lot side of the privacy screen, but almost immediately, a car pulled over from the other side of the parking lot and stopped about 20 feet away, and the driver started watching me.

AFAICT, it was an unmarked police car; I suspect that one of the homeowners had called them. (There had been several finds within the previous few days, which I believe most likely fed into it; e.g. I wasn't the first stranger spotted where nobody would normally be.)

 

In any case, I got in my van and left, and haven't been back... one of these days, I may take another quick look WITHOUT going into the area which is practically at people's back doors. And in retrospect, perhaps I should have approached the cops and explained what I was doing, but I was already uncomfortable with that particiular scenario, and the occupant of the car wasn't in uniform***.

 

**The thing that makes this one odd is that, unlike other caches I've done that were in sight of, or near to, private residences, the area isn't one where there's any reason whatsoever for anyone to be under normal circumstances. To my way of thinking, if the coords put me on a public trail, a sidewalk, in a park, etc., then the homeowners *expect* to sometimes see people there.

 

***Now there, if I were male, I might have been more likely to approach the car. As a small female, not being 100% sure the individual WAS a cop, well....

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... Turns out the park, where the cache was hidden, has had a problem with someone showing body parts to women without their consent. ...
Were the parts in formaldehyde or were they just loose? If they were loose, how did he carry them? Did he just put them in his pocket or were they in a bag? If they were in a bag, was it plastic? I would think that a paper one would get soggy.

XBK10109040653-small.jpg

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that is how it came to be known as...

 

No Dam Parking

 

Thanks for the laugh!!

 

Have you ever seen/read the letter about the beaver dam... the one where the owner of the property got a notice from the Powers That Be about "unauthorized construction" on his property?

 

edit: adding URL to the story, which is true.

http://www.snopes.com/humor/letters/dammed.htm

Edited by cimawr
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... I did have one sort-of-LEO-encounter when I'd just started out. It was with a cache where the coordinates are a bit wonky (noted in repeated logs), and the hide area puts searchers in an area where NOBODY would otherwise go - behind a privacy screen of evergreen trees, right on the fence lines of three private homes, within 30-40 feet of two of the homes, and overlooking one home's swimming pool. ...
Is this the 'bank parking lot' one from the other thread?
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I can't remember the forum and don't wish to spend time searching to Markwell this, but there was an informal survey of the jobs of geocachers and police officers were pretty high on the list (as was computers/tech people (as most people expect), fire and emergency personnel and teachers). I think the idea with the police, fire personnel, etc. was experience searching in the woods and all that.

 

So it may not be so unusual for the cop to be familiar with caching after all.

 

Interesing survey. I'm a teacher.

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