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MAKE SURE YOU LABEL YOUR AMMO CANS!


TexTiger
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Here's some news reports for a cache that was found today..

 

MIDLAND - The Midland County Sheriff's Office is investigating a suspicious item at the UTPB CEED Building in Midland County at Highway 1788 and 191.

 

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter tells NewsWest 9 that a metal cannister with indicators of blasting caps on it was found in the parking lot.

 

The Midland Police Department Bomb Squad has been called out to check the item, and are deploying their bomb robot to further assist them in their investigation.

 

Both exits onto Highway 1788 from Highway 191 have been reopened. Highway 1788 is also open, but traffic is not being allowed near the CEED Building.

 

Then the followup....

 

We have breaking news out of Midland.

 

UTPB officials have confirmed that the contents in an old army surplus box was a GPS game called "Geocaching."

 

So get those stickers they sell or mark the outside in some way so this doesn't happen in your area!

 

TexTiger

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Here's the followup on the news site:

 

http://www.newswest9.com/Global/story.asp?S=8756390

 

Staff Report

NewsWest 9

 

MIDLAND - The Midland County Sheriff's Office and the Midland Bomb Squad have confiscated a suspicious item at the UTPB CEED Building in Midland County at Highway 1788 and 191.

 

Police have determined that the item, which was inside an army surplus ammo box, was a Geo-Cash Game and was found to be safe.

 

At around 4p.m. on Tuesday, Cleaning Crew Personnel noticed 2 men and a woman left behind what appeared to be a suspicious package.

 

The cleaning crew personnel notified the Director of the CEED Building who then notified UTPB Police.

 

The CEED Building was evacuated and a portion of Highway 1788 was closed as a safety precaution.

 

The Midland Police Bomb Squad Unit later arrived and used their bomb robot to take x-rays of the package and found it to be safe.

 

Police are now searching for the three people involved in this case.

 

Be sure to tune in to NewsWest 9 @ 10 for the latest on this developing story.

 

Great...I'm sure the media will spin this in a lovely fashion. Heck, they can't even spell Geocache right.

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I have no idea why everyone doesn't at LEAST take off the military markings of an ammo can before placing it....especially when in a place that muggles may happen upon it.

 

True. I've found countless caches with the military markings still on them. Some in fairly high traffic areas hidden by cache owners who should know better. What is a non geocacher to think when he finds a military looking box with "200 Cartridges 7.62mm" written on the side? That it's full of candy?

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The Midland Police Bomb Squad Unit later arrived and used their bomb robot to take x-rays of the package and found it to be safe.

 

WHAT?? a bomb squad that DIDN'T just blow it up??? I thought that was expressly forbidden for them to make a decision that it was a harmless box???/

 

Glad this one turned out ok.

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Looks like one of the other stations is going to do a story on Geocaching in the wake of this event.

 

A New Game You Can Play All Over the World 7/29/08

 

CBS 7 Staff

July 29, 2008

 

"Geocaching" is basically a high-tech treasure hunting game.

 

And it's played all over the world by adventure seekers.

 

All you need is a GPS device.

 

Basically you locate hidden containers called "geocashes" using longitude and latitude co-ordinates.

 

Then share your experiences online.

 

There are more than 623-thousand *active* geocaches around and hundreds of "cachers" in the Permian Basin.

 

For more information on “Geocaching”, click at the link http://www.geocaching.com/

 

Might see an influx of cachers in West Texas now...

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While removing the marking and even putting marking on it indicating it is a geocache, will not impact the decision of overzealous bomb squads.

 

While it does make sense that a terrorist would never mis-mark a container and always properly mark it as an EXPLOSIVE DEVICE, it appears to be rather difficult to convince some of them of this fact.

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That's kind of interesting, the media putting a positive spin on a negative event. How very unlike them.

 

Of course, as someone also mentioned, it's pretty unlike the bomb squad to not just blow something up for the heck of it :unsure:

 

Looks like that area is full of anti-stereotypes.

 

Those crazy Texans....being sensible and all. Who'da thunk that was possible!

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That's kind of interesting, the media putting a positive spin on a negative event. How very unlike them.

 

Of course, as someone also mentioned, it's pretty unlike the bomb squad to not just blow something up for the heck of it :unsure:

 

Looks like that area is full of anti-stereotypes.

 

Well sort of..they kind of explained what Geocaching was, but that was followed by the fact the police are planning on lifting fingerprints from the ammo can and are searching for the 3 people who placed the cache. Technically they were replacing it, but of course the media didn't really do their homework before they ran with a story. One of the stations even went so far as to say "it was a game, that got out of hand" or something to that effect....

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While removing the marking and even putting marking on it indicating it is a geocache, will not impact the decision of overzealous bomb squads.

 

While it does make sense that a terrorist would never mis-mark a container and always properly mark it as an EXPLOSIVE DEVICE, it appears to be rather difficult to convince some of them of this fact.

 

Labeling a cache isn't foolproof but it certainly can't hurt. At the very least it might reduced the probability of the box even being called in. Removing the military markings is just common sense. The box in question still had "blasting caps" markings. I think nearly any non geocaccher who finds something like that would

call the police. Remove the blasting caps markings and switch it to "Geoccache - No Danger - See www.geocacing.com for info" and I think you'll drastically reduce the probability of the initial phone call to the police.

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... What is a non geocacher to think when he finds a military looking box with "200 Cartridges 7.62mm" written on the side? That it's full of candy?
I suspect that most people would not think that the box is full of candy. That being said, I rather doubt that very many people would come to the conclusion that it's full of military bullets.
... I think nearly any non geocaccher who finds something like that would call the police. ...
I completely agree that some people would call the police. After all, some people will call the police if they find a small LnL with a McToy clearly visible inside. I suspect that a larger percentage of people will call the cops if they spot an ammo can, although I suspect that this percentage does not approach 100%. I bet it doesn't get close to 40%.

 

While I do agree that it is preferable to remove military markings from ammo cans, I don't believe that doing so will keep teh bomb squad away from them, nor do I believe that labeling will do the trick.

 

The real answer is to move away from the idea that 'bigger is better'. People in these forums like to promote the 'bigger is better' philosophy, but that simple does not work in the urban arena. The simple fact is that these larger caches are much more likely to draw unwanted attention.

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... I think nearly any non geocaccher who finds something like that would call the police. Remove the blasting caps markings and switch it to "Geoccache - No Danger - See www.geocacing.com for info" and I think you'll drastically reduce the probability of the initial phone call to the police.
I bet that you are correct, unless they actually try to pull up www.geocacing.com or google 'geocaccher' or 'Geoccache'. :mad:;) Edited by sbell111
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Ammo boxes are great in remote locations, but clear lock'n'locks are probably best in urban areas.

While I don't disagree with the type of container or manner in which it is camouflaged, one must not forget about where it is hidden.

 

IIRC, one other bomb scares a year or two ago was because someone was checking out the area from which emerged a person. If the cacher hadn't been seen in the area, it would have never happened.

 

Folks call in suspicious persons all the time. Cops go check it out. Think about some of the things you do while urban caching and simply put a slightly different twist on things. With the price of scrap metals these days folks are stealing all manner of things. You wouldn't believe the boldness of some folks: stealing lead acid batteries from a business in broad daylight or trying to steal the copper piping from the meat refrigeration unit in a Walmart while it is open for business!

 

Who knows what someone might think about someone skulking about near lamp posts, air handlers, power transformers, street signs, etc.

 

Yes, I get calls for folks being in parks after hours. too.

 

Personally, I prefer a well camoed container which means it doesn't matter if it's metal or plastic. This reduces the chance of it being accidentally found by muggles. Plus, if it's marked it might give a clue as to what it is.

 

Nothing is going to make a cache 100% bomb-squad-proof, but you can better your chances in various ways without giving up.

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I would not be surprised if local police departments started charging the cache owner for the cost of the bomb squad coming out to do this sort of work.

 

Sort of like lost hikers getting charged for search and rescue teams.

The difference is that the hikers ask for the 'service'.

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Here's some news reports for a cache that was found today..

 

MIDLAND - The Midland County Sheriff's Office is investigating a suspicious item at the UTPB CEED Building in Midland County at Highway 1788 and 191.

 

Midland County Sheriff Gary Painter tells NewsWest 9 that a metal cannister with indicators of blasting caps on it was found in the parking lot.

 

The Midland Police Department Bomb Squad has been called out to check the item, and are deploying their bomb robot to further assist them in their investigation.

 

Both exits onto Highway 1788 from Highway 191 have been reopened. Highway 1788 is also open, but traffic is not being allowed near the CEED Building.

 

Then the followup....

 

We have breaking news out of Midland.

 

UTPB officials have confirmed that the contents in an old army surplus box was a GPS game called "Geocaching."

 

So get those stickers they sell or mark the outside in some way so this doesn't happen in your area!

 

TexTiger

 

Apparently they don't know what blasting caps look like else they would not have reported seeing them on a standard ammo can. It seems that people are prone to skewing the story in a directtion sympathetic to their side. The cop who went out of his way to body check a biker said in his report that the biker ran (or tried) to run him over. Blasting caps. Ha!

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That's kind of interesting, the media putting a positive spin on a negative event. How very unlike them.

 

Of course, as someone also mentioned, it's pretty unlike the bomb squad to not just blow something up for the heck of it :mad:

 

Looks like that area is full of anti-stereotypes.

 

That's a good thing. Well done. (After the intitial posturing it appears).

Edited by Renegade Knight
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That's kind of interesting, the media putting a positive spin on a negative event. How very unlike them.

 

Of course, as someone also mentioned, it's pretty unlike the bomb squad to not just blow something up for the heck of it :mad:

 

Looks like that area is full of anti-stereotypes.

 

That's a good thing. Well done. (After the intitial posturing it appears).

 

One of the news stations is actually doing a full report on Geocaching tonight, my wife being the one they are interviewing. I talked to the reporter on the phone and he was really interested in Caching and wanted to kind of clear the air on how they reported it. Also, a reporter from a local paper also expressed interest in writing a feature story on caching and has asked for interviews from our local caching association.

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This one today in Canada

 

--

GPS fans good at finding trouble

With thousands of geocaches hidden around town, it's surprising police didn't come across one of the "suspicious" packages sooner.

 

A call last week to the Hurdman transit station ended with the police explosives team destroying a GPS treasure.

 

Insp. Tyrus Cameron said the metallic device found at the transit station legitimately looked suspicious.

 

In geocaching, hobbyists use GPS equipment to find treasures hidden by other hobbyists. It has grown in popularity in recent years with an estimated 620,000 geocaches hidden around the world. There are believed to be more than 3,000 hidden in the Ottawa area alone.

 

Last week, the police explosives unit, the fire department's hazardous materials team and paramedics put a perimeter around the transit station after someone called in the odd-looking device as a suspicious package.

 

BOMB SUIT

 

The object was in a place that wasn't accessible by robot, so an officer wearing a bomb suit had to grab the item by hand so the robot could destroy it.

 

The incident tied up emergency services, delayed transit service and snarled traffic as police closed roads.

 

An incident like this has the potential to give a "black eye" to the geocaching community, one enthusiast said.

 

Bill Steer, general manager of the Canadian Ecology Centre, said it's not the first time he's heard of a bomb squad called out to a geocache.

 

"Geocachers should not put those things out there," Steer said of the metallic device used as a geocache.

 

The objects should be put in "appropriate containers," Steer said.

 

Police were planning to attend a meeting last night with geocachers to explain their concerns.

 

Cameron said police are asking geocachers to hide the treasures in a transparent container so authorities can immediately identify the objects.

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That headline is horrible...and I guess we should just place flashing lights around them also...or maybe neon glow tape.

 

If they know what caches are, I agree with the poster that said they should look the coordinates up on geocaching.com.

Edited by TexTiger
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I find it interesting that bomb squads don't make the effort to get coords and run them through GC.com. They've got to know geocaching exists. Not a perfect answer to what is it but they can ramp their level of response based on the results.
The problem is, they would still have to work on the assumption that what they found wasn't the geocache and could be a dangerous device. Think of the black eye that they would get (and the lawsuits) if they ignore a real bomb simply because a geocache is reported to be in the area. Edited by sbell111
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The problem is, they would still have to work on the assumption that what they found wasn't the geocache and could be a dangerous device. Think of the black eye that they would get (and the lawsuits) if they ignore a real bomb simply because a geocache is reported to be in the area.

Absolutely! Not all stages of a multi may be listed. It may be on one of the other caching sites and not GC. It may have been placed but not entered for review. Or it could be a bomb that happens to be near a cache. I'm sure if GC and LE wanted to they could work out special accounts so bomb squads could look at all of coord info for a cache and have some more info to base their investigative approach.

 

This isn't fool proof but just an idea to help those that have to make a decision.

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I wonder how many real bombs have someone's name and phone number on them.

 

Appropriately labeled caches--with contact information--should suffice. No need to compromise our security for the off chance someone mistakes a cache for a bomb. The best chance for a cache to not be confused with a bomb is for a muggle to not find it in the first place. Then a clearly identified cache with contact info should take care of 99.99% of the rest.

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I wonder how many real bombs have someone's name and phone number on them.

 

Appropriately labeled caches--with contact information--should suffice. No need to compromise our security for the off chance someone mistakes a cache for a bomb. The best chance for a cache to not be confused with a bomb is for a muggle to not find it in the first place. Then a clearly identified cache with contact info should take care of 99.99% of the rest.

 

Most contact info I've seen is on the inside of the cache. Usually muggles and bomb squads look at the insides after it's been destroyed. Do you put yours on the outside?

 

I wonder, how many actual bombs are found every year in the US and Canada...?

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Ammo boxes are great in remote locations, but clear lock'n'locks are probably best in urban areas.

While I don't disagree with the type of container or manner in which it is camouflaged, one must not forget about where it is hidden.

 

IIRC, one other bomb scares a year or two ago was because someone was checking out the area from which emerged a person. If the cacher hadn't been seen in the area, it would have never happened.

 

Folks call in suspicious persons all the time. Cops go check it out. Think about some of the things you do while urban caching and simply put a slightly different twist on things. With the price of scrap metals these days folks are stealing all manner of things. You wouldn't believe the boldness of some folks: stealing lead acid batteries from a business in broad daylight or trying to steal the copper piping from the meat refrigeration unit in a Walmart while it is open for business!

 

Who knows what someone might think about someone skulking about near lamp posts, air handlers, power transformers, street signs, etc.

 

Yes, I get calls for folks being in parks after hours. too.

 

Personally, I prefer a well camoed container which means it doesn't matter if it's metal or plastic. This reduces the chance of it being accidentally found by muggles. Plus, if it's marked it might give a clue as to what it is.

 

Nothing is going to make a cache 100% bomb-squad-proof, but you can better your chances in various ways without giving up.

 

There seems to be two basic reasons why it happens, suspicious behaviour and /or a suspicious container.

If there are both, then the chances are multiplied.

 

If you rule out suspicious behaviour and have only the container for the reason, it only helps to camoflage it only up to the point of stopping someone from accidentally seeing it. I would think that the camoflage only makes it more suspicious once a muggle does notice it.

 

The combination of all 3 of the following is what usually causes it:

 

-has some value to someone

-looks like it was hidden there, or purposely left

-have no idea what it is

 

Labeling it as a "geocache" helps only if the muggle or the LEO knows what a geocache is. But it only helps. If they think it looks suspicious, they will blow it up anyway.

 

You could paint an ammo box pink and write "geocache" all over it, but if it does get the water cannon and reported in the paper they will still write

Military ammunition container destroyed downtown
and it will appear to be the fault of the cacher. If the paper reports
Tupperware container destroyed downtown
it may look more like the fault of the moron person that called it in. :unsure: Edited by 4wheelin_fool
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-snip-

I wonder, how many actual bombs are found every year in the US and Canada...?

 

Easy enough to get the U.S. stats from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Apparently 2006 (most recent year in the report) was a relatively quiet year for bombings and related activities as the stats are considerably lower in most categories than 2004 and 2005, but here they are:

  • Bombings: 476 (28 injured, 2 killed)
  • Attempted Bombings: 79
  • Incendiary Bombings: 121 (6 injured)
  • Attempted Incendiary: 30
  • Premature Explosions: 40 (49 injured, 3 killed)
  • Stolen Explosives: 51
  • Recovered Explosives: 2347
  • Hoax Devices: 224
  • Accidental Explosions: 77 (52 injured, 9 killed)

Edited by Mule Ears
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What BS, IMO.

 

If you want to make a bomb, then you're probably going to use whatever you have around, or can get easily. If you want to fool people you'll just use an ammo can that says GEOCACHE in big letters on the outside... Would the cops and media get so excited if they found, I dunno, a can of soup hidden in the park???

 

Why is something instantly suspicious, just beacuse it once held explosive materials. :D:D

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Why is something instantly suspicious, just beacuse it once held explosive materials.

I dunno. Maybe because if you don't cover the original markings you're instantly putting a thought in their heads that conjures up explosives?

 

I'm wondering if the markings said, say, "U.S. Army Polish, Boot. 2oz. 50 ct" if they would have the same thoughts in their head? I don't think most folks automatically think explosives because they see an ammo can. I don't think most folks know what an ammo can looks like. If you're not putting a thought in their head of what that object is then their imaginations has to fill in. Most don't know what a geocache is but by adding "gamepiece" then you're saying something that might make them think "Oh! A game!"

 

It's all about the power of suggestion.

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-snip-

I wonder, how many actual bombs are found every year in the US and Canada...?

 

Easy enough to get the U.S. stats from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Apparently 2006 (most recent year in the report) was a relatively quiet year for bombings and related activities as the stats are considerably lower in most categories than 2004 and 2005, but here they are:

  • Bombings: 476 (28 injured, 2 killed)
  • Attempted Bombings: 79
  • Incendiary Bombings: 121 (6 injured)
  • Attempted Incendiary: 30
  • Premature Explosions: 40 (49 injured, 3 killed)
  • Stolen Explosives: 51
  • Recovered Explosives: 2347
  • Hoax Devices: 224
  • Accidental Explosions: 77 (52 injured, 9 killed)

 

You'd think that I'd see more reports in the media about bombings... I wonder how many of these are actual "crazy guy placed bomb" and how many are meth lab explosions, beaver dam demolitions gone bad, and kids playing with gun powder? I mean, that's like a bomb a day and then some! Are the 224 "Hoax Devices" being rolled into the total 476 number?

 

Not having any luck finding any news stories of actual bombings doing a Google news search- with the exception of several bomb scares.

 

EDIT: It looks like these are "Explosive Incidents" and not all what most folks would consider a bomb. Conclusions could be drawn, but it would only be speculation...

Edited by Castle Mischief
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You'd think that I'd see more reports in the media about bombings...

Yes, considering the media coverage of shootings.

 

I'm wondering why our home-grown terrorists aren't labeled as such. One example is the church shooting where the gunman didn't like the church's political views. If that's not terrorism, I don't know what is.

 

I'd also like to know how many bombings take place in locations similar bomb scares caused by caches.

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I have no idea why everyone doesn't at LEAST take off the military markings of an ammo can before placing it....especially when in a place that muggles may happen upon it.

Yep. Although i think it says somewhere on the site that all geocaches should be marked.

 

Anyway, calling the cops on an unmarked ammo can (no military markings) is as dumb as people calling the police just because someone is carrying a gun. Neither is illegal unless in the wrong setting.

 

Unless someone is going to call about every unattended item which may be able to conceal contents, this is bomb profiling.

Edited by knight2000
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Well, I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. A cache that I have found was destroyed by the bomb squad! 1 out of 1682 finds isn't bad, I guess. Nope. It wasn't an ammo can. I'm trying to remember what it was. A micro with a pencil. I think it was about the size of a film canister, hanging within a sign, from a hook.

it's a long story.... in short, the Bomb Squad from Fredericton was called ( they thought it looked suspicious... ), the area was evacuated.... my cache got wrecked... BIG HAPPENINGS...

Downtown St. Stephen, New Brunswick. Hmm... When we told Douanes Canadiennes that we were entering NB to go geocaching (and before they took us inside for a half hour interrogation, and checking of identities) they told us where to find all the nearby geocaches! Guess Douanes Canadiennes forget to tell the bomb squad. It was a micro, for goodness sakes! (Aside: It took us forty-five minutes to get back through Homeland Security. You were geocaching? Come inside while we search your car!)

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If I put a Geocaching.com sticker on my bomb set to blow up the bridge, the bomb squad will leave it alone?

COOL!

But, I DON'T THINK SO!

 

Even explicit permission, a clear container, obvious labeling, and thoughtful placement will never completely remove the chance that the bomb squad will be called, and that they will 'do their thing'.

 

This is not to say that all of the above should not be employed...more of a comment about the post 9-1-1 world we live in.

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