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Observed a crime while caching


Jamie Z
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Last week I was looking for a cache just off a rural highway. As I searched an SUV pulled up on the opposite side of the highway and stopped. Now normally I wouldn't pay any attention. It's probably someone taking a bathroom break, or swapping drivers, or just getting out to stretch. But these guys were different. When they got out of the vehicle, they looked around suspiciously. They checked the road up and down, and then they opened the rear of the SUV and removed a large cooler.

 

While one guy watched, the other tossed some things from the cooler, but at my distance I couldn't see what it was.

 

In the meantime, I snapped a couple of pictures. Unfortunately, there was thick brush between me and them, and I couldn't get my camera to focus on them. I even stopped down the aperture to get a long field of view, but they still came out a little more blurry than I'd like.

 

IMG_5481.JPG

 

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I got a pic of the back of the SUV, and in the full-size image, I can read the plate number.

 

IMG_5486.JPG

 

After they left, I rode over to see what they'd dumped. I was surprised to see this:

 

IMG_5490.JPG

 

IMG_5492.JPG

 

Those look like pretty good fish to me! They were impressive in size. I'd have been tempted to take them myself if I'd had any way to carry them.

 

When I got home I called the Mississippi Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. I initially spoke with a woman in the office who said she'd forward the information from an officer. A little while later I got a call from an officer who asked me a few basic questions and asked me to email the photos to him.

 

Two days ago I got a call from a different officer who informed me he was at the site and the fish were still there. He asked me some more questions about where I was when I took the pictures (he was aware of geocaching) and the date and time. He also asked if I'd be willing to come testify if it got that far.

 

He said that the plates were out-of-state so he had an extra hoop to jump in order to contact the guys. I was glad he called and kept me posted, but he also sounded like the case might not lead anywhere.

 

Jamie

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I too saw a crime being committed right by a cache yesterday. It was one I'd not managed to find last time, so had returned. However, when I saw a teen couple up to no good, I immediately decided they certainly didn't need me around, and scarpered. I shall have to return a 3rd time.

 

If the girl is reading: wearing a bright red top for such activities is not to be recommended when you're as close to the main road (A1) as Seton's Doocot is! You may be camouflaged from the access point itself, but you can be spotted by every Tom, Dick and Harry driving past!!!!

 

:(

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However, when I saw a teen couple up to no good, I immediately decided they certainly didn't need me around, and scarpered. I shall have to return a 3rd time.

Did you report it? :( Should I ask what they were doing? Did you mention it in your DNF so other cachers are aware?

 

Jamie

Edited by Jamie Z
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However, when I saw a teen couple up to no good, I immediately decided they certainly didn't need me around, and scarpered. I shall have to return a 3rd time.

Did you report it? :( Should I ask what they were doing? Did you mention it in your DNF so other cachers are aware?

 

Jamie

No I didn't report it. I think you need to use your imagination as to what a teenage couple might be doing, and no I didn't record any DNF as I didn't even start looking! A lot of places that geocaches are concealed, are, by their nature places where covertness is sought. Sadly, we're not all engaging in such innocent pursuits and such overlaps could all too frequently occur.

 

:huh:

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Kudos and thanks -- it's nice to know that our neighbors to the north won't get away with this.

 

Those do seem to be good fish -- makes you wonder why they were dumped? Did they think they were being followed by MDWFP officials? They weren't too far from "home base". Glad that you were there to document this happening.

 

It's good to know that MDWFP is working to take action against them.

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No I didn't report it. I think you need to use your imagination as to what a teenage couple might be doing,

Is that even illegal?

Maybe not in Tennessee, but I would bet that in Scotland, in public, that act would certainly be illegal. I would even hazard a guess that in some states it's illegal even behind closed doors. Sometimes though you just have to remember that you were young once and frankly, if ever they realised that half of East Lothian could see what they were up to, that should have been shame enough, but it's not something I'm going to go off and report.

 

:unsure:

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I was coming out of the woods from a large hill and was slowly crossing a creek when a vehicle slowed down going past my Jeep parked at an isolated overlook. They (4 men) quickly turned around and came back and were getting out with tools in hand when I came out of the woodline at the parking lot, they all jumped back into the vehicle and sped away. Who knows what might of occured had I not came back as quickly as I had.

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Very interesting.

 

To OP: I would suggest to the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife that they simply determine what the crime specifically is according to state law. Issue a ticket to the owner of the vehicle, mail the ticket (along with an envelope to remit payment to the state of Mississippi) along with the photos.

 

I would imagine the offender would simply write a check to avoid returning to the state for court - and likely never do it again since they would be quite surprised to see the photos taken from some mystery observer in the woods. They would always feel like someone was watching :)

 

RE: Crimes near caches and the 'teen couple'. Funny how common this must be. Just a few weeks ago on our hike out we observed a lovely pink sweater draped over a branch up off the trail and the owner of the sweater quite involved in some misdemeanor conduct in public. . . There was a park ranger not far behind us getting ready to hike out so we hoped he would take care of it on his way out.

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Very interesting.

 

To OP: I would suggest to the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife that they simply determine what the crime specifically is according to state law. Issue a ticket to the owner of the vehicle, mail the ticket (along with an envelope to remit payment to the state of Mississippi) along with the photos....

 

Yup, good Jobe Jamie. You did your part when most wouldn't.

 

As for issuing a ticket to the owner of a vehicle. That's a load of malarky. My car doesn't commit crimes, however the person I loan it too might. I'm not interested in fighting their battles, nor am I interested in living in the kind of world where I can't loan out my car if I'm able to help someone. Yeah, I know the law (because it's so much easier than actually finding the guilty party) is being chagned to allow "your car commited the crime" tickets. It's still malarky.

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Last week I was looking for a cache just off a rural highway. As I searched an SUV pulled up on the opposite side of the highway and stopped. Now normally I wouldn't pay any attention. It's probably someone taking a bathroom break, or swapping drivers, or just getting out to stretch. But these guys were different. When they got out of the vehicle, they looked around suspiciously. They checked the road up and down, and then they opened the rear of the SUV and removed a large cooler.

 

While one guy watched, the other tossed some things from the cooler, but at my distance I couldn't see what it was.

 

In the meantime, I snapped a couple of pictures. Unfortunately, there was thick brush between me and them, and I couldn't get my camera to focus on them. I even stopped down the aperture to get a long field of view, but they still came out a little more blurry than I'd like.

 

 

I got a pic of the back of the SUV, and in the full-size image, I can read the plate number.

 

After they left, I rode over to see what they'd dumped. I was surprised to see this:

 

Those look like pretty good fish to me! They were impressive in size. I'd have been tempted to take them myself if I'd had any way to carry them.

 

When I got home I called the Mississippi Department of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. I initially spoke with a woman in the office who said she'd forward the information from an officer. A little while later I got a call from an officer who asked me a few basic questions and asked me to email the photos to him.

 

Two days ago I got a call from a different officer who informed me he was at the site and the fish were still there. He asked me some more questions about where I was when I took the pictures (he was aware of geocaching) and the date and time. He also asked if I'd be willing to come testify if it got that far.

 

He said that the plates were out-of-state so he had an extra hoop to jump in order to contact the guys. I was glad he called and kept me posted, but he also sounded like the case might not lead anywhere.

 

Jamie

 

Good for you - and thank you for reporting this. No idea why they would dump the fish, what a waste - I wonder if they were out of season for the area, and thought they were being followed? Either way, thank you for reporting them and for being safe while you were taking pictures...

 

(Sorry - edited to remove pic copies, I didn't mean to post them twice)

Edited by kittyboodles
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However, when I saw a teen couple up to no good, I immediately decided they certainly didn't need me around, and scarpered. I shall have to return a 3rd time.

Did you report it? :D Should I ask what they were doing? Did you mention it in your DNF so other cachers are aware?

 

Jamie

No I didn't report it. I think you need to use your imagination as to what a teenage couple might be doing, and no I didn't record any DNF as I didn't even start looking! A lot of places that geocaches are concealed, are, by their nature places where covertness is sought. Sadly, we're not all engaging in such innocent pursuits and such overlaps could all too frequently occur.

 

:ph34r:

 

In this case they might not be logging a DNF..... Of course we would be talking about a different F here.

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No idea why they would dump the fish, what a waste - I wonder if they were out of season for the area, and thought they were being followed?

As a matter of fact, the officer who called me from the scene told me that they were perfectly legal fish. He wondered aloud that even if the fish were acquired illegally, why would they keep them and then throw them on the side of the road.

 

FWIW, I haven't heard anything back since the last time I posted. I hope I get a call with the outcome, though I'm thinking I won't.

 

Jamie

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Please help an ignorant city-slicker. Why is it a crime to dump fish on the side of the road?

If they were taken out of season or without a license, it is a crime.

They were not taken out of season. Whether the guys had a license or not, I don't know. They had the fish in their vehicle, so it's not like they were going to get caught either way.

 

Disposing of game fish is illegal for several reasons. For one, it's littering, that's obvious, and possibly unhealthy. Do you want people dumping animal carcasses near human populations? In addition, lots of resources, your tax dollars, go toward making fishing opportunities available to the public. Fish and game are a limited natural resource, and every state and many local governments have agencies who maintain game populations, who maintain access to lakes and streams, who issue fishing and hunting licenses and set limits for that game to make sure the resource is available to everyone, including future hunters. That service isn't free, and must be protected.

 

And... this should be a no-brainer, it's simply unethical. Why would anyone keep a live fish with no intention of utilizing it? What if someone went deer hunting and when they shot their deer, just left it out in the woods?

 

I don't fish, and I don't hunt. But this really made me angry.

 

Jamie

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Has anyone but me wondered why the fish were not even cleaned? My hypothesis. The vehicle has a trailer hitch on it. The guys went fishing and put the fish in a live well on their boat. They get home after some kind of delay and the fish are all dead and the water in the well is hot. Not wanting to risk the chance of eating spoiled fish or have wives mad that they tossed the fish in the household trash, they go dispose of them. Taking one last look at the fish as they dump them. Only 'crime' looks like a minor illegal dumping.

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Thanks for the information. I truly am interested in learning about this and I defer to those with wildlife expertise. I'm still a bit confused, though.

 

Disposing of game fish is illegal for several reasons. For one, it's littering, that's obvious, and possibly unhealthy. Do you want people dumping animal carcasses near human populations?

Good point. Of course I don't want there to be outbreaks of people dumping animal carcasses up and down the highways and back roads. At least in this one instance it is organic material that will quickly decompose. Won't the birds eat them up? It's not like they were dumping old tires or batteries.

 

Fish and game are a limited natural resource, and every state and many local governments have agencies who maintain game populations...

Okay, but what does it matter in terms of fish population if these men took the fish and consumed them or took them and disposed of them? The fish are still out of the lake either way.

 

And... this should be a no-brainer, it's simply unethical. Why would anyone keep a live fish with no intention of utilizing it?

Well, we don't know their intentions for sure. Even the Wildlife Officer couldn't speculate as to why they did what they did. Like Watchdog said, maybe they intended to consume the fish. Is it possible that they paid their fees by getting a license... took the allowable number of fish... intended to go home and fry them up for their families... but something went wrong, the fish died and so they dumped them? I'm not saying that they made the best choice about how to dispose of the fish but it could have been worse, yes? What if they put them in a plastic garbage bag and tossed them in a dumpster, unable to decompose for years and years?

 

When I read that someone saw a crime while caching, I was afraid it was a mugging or a shoplifting. Then when I saw six fishies on the ground, I was relieved but baffled. This is a crime worth contacting authorities and being willing to testify? But then someone refered to it as poaching, so maybe there is a problem with people intentionally fishing and then tossing them aside. I certainly don't mean to criticize you for reporting it... I just don't understand it.

 

These forums are a great resource for learning more about a wide variety of topics. I appreciate the education.

Edited by NasheCache
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Has anyone but me wondered why the fish were not even cleaned? My hypothesis. The vehicle has a trailer hitch on it. The guys went fishing and put the fish in a live well on their boat. They get home after some kind of delay and the fish are all dead and the water in the well is hot. Not wanting to risk the chance of eating spoiled fish or have wives mad that they tossed the fish in the household trash, they go dispose of them. Taking one last look at the fish as they dump them. Only 'crime' looks like a minor illegal dumping.

I guess I left out one piece of information in the OP, that is that the fish were still very much alive when I observed them. I can't say that all of them were alive, but at least two or three were flipping their fins and moving their gills.

 

The vehicle has out-of-state plates, if that's significant. I don't know.

 

What I know is that if these guys had gotten out of the vehicle and acted normally, I'd probably have not even paid any attention, nor ever cared or looked at what they tossed. Instead, they were very aware of their surroundings, glancing around, looking up and down the highway. It was this odd behaviour which attracted my attention. In fact, I had some concern while taking the photographs that I might be caught. Whatever they were doing, they knew it was wrong.

 

Jamie

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Fish and game are a limited natural resource, and every state and many local governments have agencies who maintain game populations...

Okay, but what does it matter in terms of fish population if these men took the fish and consumed them or took them and disposed of them? The fish are still out of the lake either way.

What if I invited you over for dinner. You filled your plate, then went outside and dumped it on the ground? Should it matter whether the food is in your stomach or in my trash?

 

I know what you're saying. I'm just as confused about their intentions as anyone. If they have a legitimate explanation, I'd be the first to accept it. I speculate that their reason is laziness however.

 

I support hunting and fishing, but I have very little use for people who abuse animals and wildlife. There's a difference, and the law acknowledges that. I just hope I hear something about this case. I'd like to see the look on the guys' face when an officer shows up at their door and shows them pictures of them dumping fish. Despite their careful observation, they didn't see me.

 

Jamie

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I support hunting and fishing, but I have very little use for people who abuse animals and wildlife.

I totally agree with you. That's terrible that some were still alive and they dumped them on the ground and not in a lake or river. I also can understand why you were concerned when the men were acting suspicious. It does sound like they felt they were up to no good. I'm interested in learning more about whether they were lazy jerks or criminals.

 

Okay, but what does it matter in terms of fish population if these men took the fish and consumed them or took them and disposed of them? The fish are still out of the lake either way.
What if I invited you over for dinner. You filled your plate, then went outside and dumped it on the ground? Should it matter whether the food is in your stomach or in my trash?

Oh, yes, that would be terribly rude of me. Downright unethical. In fact, I would say that deliberately wasting food rises to the level of sin. But is it illegal?

 

Speaking just in terms of maintaining a healthy fish population, what difference does it make if someone takes some fish legally and then eats them, stuffs and mounts them, wears them around their neck as a necklace or dumps them in the woods? I would agree that some of those options are more ethical than others. But if you acquired them legally, then whatever you do with them has no bearing on the fish population.

 

Thank you for discussing this with me. If I'm going to report someone to the authorities, I want to be sure that they committed a crime. I don't know enough about fish and game laws to be sure. So I appreciate learning more about this.

 

Good job not being seen! You didn't know what they were dumping but you kept your wits about you and got good photos. I'm really glad that they weren't worse criminals hiding human parts and that you weren't in serious danger. Be careful out there, cachers!

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Here's another thought -- Mississippi does have creel limits, which is a limit to the number of fish you can have in your possession, and depending on the circumstances and the species of fish, the fines for that can be a bit hard on the pocketbook. I have heard that they have really been cracking down on the creel limits on crappie on some of the lakes in North Mississippi -- they may have dumped these few fish to get back to the legal limit.

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Okay, but what does it matter in terms of fish population if these men took the fish and consumed them or took them and disposed of them? The fish are still out of the lake either way.
What if I invited you over for dinner. You filled your plate, then went outside and dumped it on the ground? Should it matter whether the food is in your stomach or in my trash?

Oh, yes, that would be terribly rude of me. Downright unethical. In fact, I would say that deliberately wasting food rises to the level of sin. But is it illegal?

When a government spends a lot of money to make a resource available to the public, and someone wastes those resources, they yes, it is illegal.

 

Haven't heard anything back from the officer...

 

Jamie

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Please help an ignorant city-slicker. Why is it a crime to dump fish on the side of the road?

This might apply to you:

Michigan

 

324.8902

 

324.8905a

 

Civil infraction. Litter less than one cubic foot: fine not more than $800. Greater than one cubic foot but less than three cubic feet: fine not more than $1,500. Greater than three cubic feet: fine not more than $2,500 for first offense, not more than $5,000 for subsequent offenses.

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I know many states have regulations on "wanton waste". Essentially, it is illegal for a person to kill a game animal or a species of wild fowl to fail intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence to salvage for human consumption the edible meat of the animal or fowl. Some of the typical cases would be cutting the antlers off an animal and leaving animal, or taking the back straps and leaving the rest of the meat.

 

From the pictures it is clear these fish are not spoiled, they still have great color. I'm guessing they did it for one of the following reasons:

 

1.) No licence, out of state licenses tend to be more expensive.

2.) They were over the legal daily limit for crappies and bass. Or it may be certain lakes have slot limits on the size of these fish, (for game management, sometimes only certain sized fish may be harvested).

3.) They were too lazy to clean them and didn't want to deal with them (most likely).

 

Regardless, nice work reporting them and I hope they are punished.

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Hi,

 

Went on my first caching trip for ages today, and i witnessed what's probably a crime, but I'm not reporting it.

 

I saw someone pasting up this work of art (linked as it's a pretty big pic):

 

http://db.tt.SPBv50

 

I think it's awesome :huh:

 

EDIT - wow, i thought i'd posted here before, hello everyone :anicute:

Edited by Glyn
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In Alberta (Canada) it is illigal to wast the meat from a game you kill (fish, bird, deer, moose, elk etc.). Exeption: Bear. you are allowed to properly dispose of the meat from a bear, but, you can not wast the bear hide.

 

If this had happened in Alberta, it would indeed be illigal.

 

As for the hanky panky post, we interupted some drunks getting it on way back in the bush. They were about 2m from the cache. I also scared off some vehicles that had just pulled up to a local makeout spot while I was hunting for a benchmark.

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