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GOF and Bacall

Cache maggot arrested.

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The question is really what constitutes abandonment.

Wikipedia (presuming Bittsen hasn't been altering it to prove a point :rolleyes: ) has a pretty good article on this issue.

 

Regarding the definition of abandoned property:

Property is generally deemed to have been abandoned if it is found in a place where the true owner likely intended to leave it, but is in such a condition that it is apparent that the true owner has no intention of returning to claim the item.

 

I think the key part of that definition, as far as we as geocachers are concerned, is "that the true owner has no intention of returning to claim the item."

 

Different jurisdictions define it differently. In our local open space, property is abandoned if it is left 12 hours without permission. In some areas where caching is approved by permit, any unauthorizrd cache is deemed abandoned and litter. I did not see any ordinances on this for Rome. At some point I might look up NY's state laws but no time now.

 

If the cache that Repak took had express permission then it was clearly not abandoned. If it didn't then there is more room for argument about whether the cache owner had a right to possession so that Repak's action constitute larceny or whether he could claim that he thought he had a legal right to remove it (if NY recognizes this defense).

 

Caching is something different than what most laws contemplated when they defined litter, abandonment, lost property and the like. Which is what makes this case interesting if it gets beyond an ACD/diversion type of settlement. On the hand, I am not sure I want caching to be defined -- some jurisdictions have not done it very well.

Edited by Erickson

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It's not a question of whether the guy did something *wrong* - he did - it's a question of whether he did something illegal. I'm here to tell you, those things don't overlap as much as they should.

 

Anyway, the nut grafs of New York Law can be found at Sec 251-258 of New York's Personal Property Laws. Even if he wants to argue he thought it was abandoned, he has an obligation to report lost property to the police or put it back where he found it, under penalty of $100/six months. If it's worth less than ten dollars, he can make a good faith effort to return it to the owner without taking it to the police, and after a year can keep it.

That section of law deals with 'lost' property. Given that the cache owners clearly knew where the property was (because they listed it's coords online), the lost property law does not apply, in my opinion. Edited by sbell111

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it's very entertaining to see non-lawyers debating opinions on what the law does and does not say with actual lawyers.

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it's very entertaining to see non-lawyers debating opinions on what the law does and does not say with actual lawyers.

It doesn't take a lawyer to read a law. Further, the lawyers who are participating are certainly free to explain why we are wrong.

Edited by sbell111

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This quote attributed to Mr. Repek from his exchanges is very interesting --

 

Please let me apologize not just for myself but especially for the game of geocaching going where it is not intended to be. ..... -Paul"

 

Think about it. Is this supposed to mean that Paul Repek's actions were an example of another way to play "the game of geocaching..." in a way that takes it "where it is not intended to be"? If that is the case, it carves away any notion that this was something he was doing to save the wilderness from "trashing" (and the descriptions of stolen caches is not consistent with that explanation anyway).

 

Instead, it starts to sound like this person crossed the line and started playing his own "game" of seek and destroy. As noted above, the basic principle of that "game" is at odds with the notion that this is a shared activity where people willingly place and care for private property that is intended to allow others to play the lawful "game of geocaching".

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Just how this ends up playing out in the courts is going to be, as Sgt. Schultz on Hogan's Heroes used to say, "very interesting."

Sgt. Shultz on Hogan's Hereos said "I know nothing". It was the Arte Johnson character Wolfgang on Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In who said "Verrry Interesting".

 

You are right!!

My apologies.......

It's important to keep the facts straight in a thread like this :rolleyes:

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it's very entertaining to see non-lawyers debating opinions on what the law does and does not say with actual lawyers.

It doesn't take a lawyer to read a law. Further, the lawyers who are participating are certainly free to explain why we are wrong.

 

The law is such that lawyers argue with lawyers all the time about what it is. And then lawyers argue with judges.

 

I practice post conviction death penalty law in California, where the court rules against our clients 98 percent of the time. So what do I know about property law or petty larceny in NY? Its been over 20 years since I took property in law school. Everyone once in a while I have to deal with theft issues, but not in NY. For me its interesting to think about how I would go about defending this guy. However, we do not know most of the facts at issue, whether the search could be challenged, the status of the cache, or other things that would be important to find out. We don't know what the DA will say when Repak's attorney suggests ways to make the case go away short of conviction. So what we have is speculation and argument. And judging by the number of posts to this thread, that can be fun for everyone!

 

I can also try to figure out his motivation even though I am not a psychologist. I hope that when things settle down a bit we learn more about why it became such an obsession with him.

Edited by Erickson

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The

The question is really what constitutes abandonment.

Wikipedia (presuming Bittsen hasn't been altering it to prove a point :rolleyes: ) has a pretty good article on this issue.

 

Regarding the definition of abandoned property:

Property is generally deemed to have been abandoned if it is found in a place where the true owner likely intended to leave it, but is in such a condition that it is apparent that the true owner has no intention of returning to claim the item.

 

I think the key part of that definition, as far as we as geocachers are concerned, is "that the true owner has no intention of returning to claim the item."

Different jurisdictions define it differently.

Yup. That's why the word, "generally" is there, I'd imagine. However, most abandoned property laws stem from the same source (Common Law of England) and so are likely to share many traits.

 

For the wannabe legal beagles in the group, I believe New Yorn Abandoned Property Laws are what you'd want to read.

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it's very entertaining to see non-lawyers debating opinions on what the law does and does not say with actual lawyers.

 

I got a good laugh out of that as well. Google kings debating nuances of law with people with formal training and years of experience in it.

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Please let me apologize not just for myself but especially for the game of geocaching going where it is not intended to be. ..... -Paul"

 

Think about it. Is this supposed to mean that Paul Repek's actions were an example of another way to play "the game of geocaching..." in a way that takes it "where it is not intended to be"?

I don't have a dog in this hunt, so I don't know. However, I'm the type of person who does a lot of thinking on different things. I like to step back and look at the forest, get a new perspective.

 

I can read Mr. Repak's statement a little differently. Like I said, I don't know what kind of caches were stolen, but he could be meaning placements that, in his opinion, should have never been placed. I can sympathize. I see caches going out all around me that I think should not have been placed. I think Groundspeak, in an effort to maximize profits for themselves, have compromised the hobby I feel in love with. If I were in the same mindset as Mr. Repak, I could have forced my region to comply with my notion of geocaching. I could have gone around and stolen every single cache that didn't have purpose other than providing a smilie. I could have sabotaged the anti-anti-geocaching efforts and it might have been enough to have practically banned all caching in SC. (Except for a lot of the trache I see getting placed anyway and sometimes why did we bother.)

 

I don't know the mindset of Mr. Repak. I don't condone what he did and how he set about doing it. But, just think, Dave Ulmer himself once publicly speculated that geocaching was a bad idea. If it hadn't become a business for Jeremy Irish where do you think it would have been? My thinking is probably right along side letterboxing: small, healthy, and under the radar of most authorities.

 

Then again Mr. Repak could have a whole different notion of the situation altogether.

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For the wannabe legal beagles in the group, I believe New Yorn Abandoned Property Laws are what you'd want to read.

 

I came across some of those, but they were not contemplating caching so at some point I thought about looking at the case law for a broader definition that might apply. But it can also send you on tangents. The real issue as far as I can tell is whether the cache owner has a legal right to possession that makes Mr. Repak's actions larceny.

 

My relatively uninformed gut feeling based on courts I have been in front of 3000 miles away is that most judges would be reluctant to confer "ownership" on an activity that involves placing items on property without express permission, but would find it if the cache owner had express permission. If you come onto my property and stick something on my wall and ask that other people find it, does that give you a legal right to possession or can I take the object with the intent to permanently deprive you of it? Then can a third party come in and take it with that same intent -- and who are they taking it from? It can start to get sticky.

 

Then you have the issue of the search. If the search was valid, and most courts want to find that it is, how do you prove that each of these items were stolen? That could get rather complicated and involve a lengthy jury trial. Over a game. If the search was not valid, then intent is going to be more circumstantial and a juror could go off in any direction.

 

So a pretrial disposition short of conviction seems like it benefits everyone. The judge does not have to worry about making new law, whether he or she got the jury instructions right, and the rest. The DA can move along their caseload. The defense attorney gets his or her fees (it seems unlikely that Repak qualifies for a public defender). The accused might have to attend classes or do community service, but hopefully the issue is resolved and the guy never has to appear in front of the judge again. That is ultimately the judicial interest in the preceding.

 

And if the judge is a cacher, does he or she have to be recused?

Edited by Erickson

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For the wannabe legal beagles in the group, I believe New Yorn Abandoned Property Laws are what you'd want to read.

 

I came across some of those, but they were not contemplating caching so at some point I thought about looking at the case law for a broader definition that might apply. But it can also send you on tangents. The real issue as far as I can tell is whether the cache owner has a legal right to possession that makes Mr. Repak's actions larceny.

 

My relatively uninformed gut feeling based on courts I have been in front of 3000 miles away is that most judges would be reluctant to confer "ownership" on an activity that involves placing items on property without express permission, but would find it if the cache owner had express permission. If you come onto my property and stick something on my wall and ask that other people find it, does that give you a legal right to possession or can I take the object with the intent to permanently deprive you of it? Then can a third party come in and take it with that same intent -- and who are they taking it from? It can start to get sticky.

 

Then you have the issue of the search. If the search was valid, and most courts want to find that it is, how do you prove that each of these items were stolen? That could get rather complicated and involve a lengthy jury trial. Over a game. If the search was not valid, then intent is going to be more circumstantial and a juror could go off in any direction.

 

So a pretrial disposition short of conviction seems like it benefits everyone. The judge does not have to worry about making new law, whether he or she got the jury instructions right, and the rest. The DA can move along their caseload. The defense attorney gets his or her fees (assuming that Repak does not qualify for a publid defender). The accused might have to attend classes or do community service, but hopefully the issue is resolved and the guy never has to appear in front of the judge again. That is ultimately the judicial interest in the preceding.

 

And if the judge is a cacher, does he or she have to be recused?

So, in your experience, do you don't believe that this will ever actually go beyond a plea bargain? That is what my totally uninformed speculation would be.

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So, in your experience, do you don't believe that this will ever actually go beyond a plea bargain? That is what my totally uninformed speculation would be.

 

If it gets that far. Its like the scene in Miracle on 34th Street where the judge tries to figure out the easiest way to make the case go away. Not to get too cynical about the process. On the other hand, if it was a homeless guy with two strikes against him and petty theft was the way to put the guy in prison for life (in California), then the result would be different. I had one of those once and swore I would never take that kind of case again. Better to do death penalty law.

Edited by Erickson

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Please let me apologize not just for myself but especially for the game of geocaching going where it is not intended to be. ..... -Paul"

 

Think about it. Is this supposed to mean that Paul Repek's actions were an example of another way to play "the game of geocaching..." in a way that takes it "where it is not intended to be"?

I don't have a dog in this hunt, so I don't know. However, I'm the type of person who does a lot of thinking on different things. I like to step back and look at the forest, get a new perspective.

 

I can read Mr. Repak's statement a little differently. Like I said, I don't know what kind of caches were stolen, but he could be meaning placements that, in his opinion, should have never been placed. I can sympathize. I see caches going out all around me that I think should not have been placed. I think Groundspeak, in an effort to maximize profits for themselves, have compromised the hobby I feel in love with. If I were in the same mindset as Mr. Repak, I could have forced my region to comply with my notion of geocaching. I could have gone around and stolen every single cache that didn't have purpose other than providing a smilie. I could have sabotaged the anti-anti-geocaching efforts and it might have been enough to have practically banned all caching in SC. (Except for a lot of the trache I see getting placed anyway and sometimes why did we bother.)

 

I don't know the mindset of Mr. Repak. I don't condone what he did and how he set about doing it. But, just think, Dave Ulmer himself once publicly speculated that geocaching was a bad idea. If it hadn't become a business for Jeremy Irish where do you think it would have been? My thinking is probably right along side letterboxing: small, healthy, and under the radar of most authorities.

 

Then again Mr. Repak could have a whole different notion of the situation altogether.

 

That's one way of reading it, a more direct interpretation is Mr. Repak is apologising for taking Geocaching down a Cachers vs Cache Maggot road, which is a considerable departure from the game itself. I expect he is feeling very badly about this in the light of day.

 

The mindless jerk tailgating me on the road this morning likely only thinks of getting around yet one more vehicle in his pursuit to be to work. Were he to be pulled over by a police officer and have to defend his driving habits he might experience an epiphany, that he has become an aggressive driver and needs to evaluate his approach to driving. (Then again, he may not and choose to rationalise the problems he finds himself in are the faults of other people - which is denial.)

Edited by DragonsWest

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For the wannabe legal beagles in the group, I believe New Yorn Abandoned Property Laws are what you'd want to read.
I came across some of those, but they were not contemplating caching so at some point I thought about looking at the case law for a broader definition that might apply. But it can also send you on tangents. The real issue as far as I can tell is whether the cache owner has a legal right to possession that makes Mr. Repak's actions larceny.

 

My relatively uninformed gut feeling based on courts I have been in front of 3000 miles away is that most judges would be reluctant to confer "ownership" on an activity that involves placing items on property without express permission, but would find it if the cache owner had express permission. If you come onto my property and stick something on my wall and ask that other people find it, does that give you a legal right to possession or can I take the object with the intent to permanently deprive you of it? Then can a third party come in and take it with that same intent -- and who are they taking it from? It can start to get sticky.

 

Then you have the issue of the search. If the search was valid, and most courts want to find that it is, how do you prove that each of these items were stolen? That could get rather complicated and involve a lengthy jury trial. Over a game. If the search was not valid, then intent is going to be more circumstantial and a juror could go off in any direction.

 

So a pretrial disposition short of conviction seems like it benefits everyone. The judge does not have to worry about making new law, whether he or she got the jury instructions right, and the rest. The DA can move along their caseload. The defense attorney gets his or her fees (assuming that Repak does not qualify for a publid defender). The accused might have to attend classes or do community service, but hopefully the issue is resolved and the guy never has to appear in front of the judge again. That is ultimately the judicial interest in the preceding.

 

And if the judge is a cacher, does he or she have to be recused?

So, in your experience, do you don't believe that this will ever actually go beyond a plea bargain? That is what my totally uninformed speculation would be.
I wonder if it will get that far.

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In some ways I hope this guy gets convicted of a crime and in other ways I hope he gets off scot free (legally speaking).

 

Here's my logic.

If he gets convicted, then people (cachers) will feel a sense of justice being given. They will feel good that he was punished.

If he doesn't get convicted, some person who is teetering on the edge between good and evil may just decide that there HAS to be some justice and make his life miserable, like he has done to others.

 

Either way, I'm OK with it.

 

Hmmm.. Let's compare the two crimes:

 

1) Stealing people's game pieces

2) Stalking

 

Yeah..... Sounds like a great plan :rolleyes:

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The traps/lobster pots analogy is well nigh perfect.

 

The question is really what constitutes abandonment. A rusty bicycle may well be mine because I bought it, but if I toss it in a ditch and leave it there for a month, I've any claim to it (setting aside the littering issue). Any maintained cache isn't abandoned, so it's still owned by the fellow who placed it. The question is whether or not there's a rule in New York about personal property left out in the woods for some period of time that is constructive abandonment. If I leave my tent set up for a day, I haven't abandoned it while I'm on a day hike. If I leave it there for a month, I've almost certainly turned it into trash. I may intend to check my traps, but if I don't do so every 10 days or 30 days or once a year or *at some point*, it's probably eventually ruled abandoned.

 

But if I send one of my helpers to check my traps or another boat to check on the lobster pots, rather than going myself, that's going to toll whatever period NY law requires for abandonment.

 

The question, as to abandonment -- and this is the fun property issue -- is whether or not telling my friends to check on the cache and let me know if it is still there avoids the claim on abandonment. I'd argue it does.

 

That's interesting... was thinking that myself. Do you think that having a regitstration and logging system in place 24/7/365 helps to negate abandonment in itself. Along with guidelines and established procedures.

If nothing else it would help establish who these helpers might be...

 

Knowschad mentioned English Common Law recently... It may well be that a lot of this issue hangs or not upon the actions and beliefs of the 'reasonable' man. A person clearing litter may have reasonable cause to do so, but when it is clearly identified it ceases to be litter but perhaps lost property and the reasonable action is to deal with it under those guidelines. One doesn't prosecute for clearing litter, but might for taking others property... Some of this might fall under local rules for treasure 'trove'. there is quite a difference in approach to that around the world... finders keepers sounds nice, but... except on the high seas, it doesn't always work out like in the movies.

 

The real goal here is to STOP cache maggots, however legally possible. At the same time the basic game should be protected as well... I'm not much in favour of publicly destroying this guy... getting relief from him and his kind, sure. But we have to get away from the hidden treasure description for sure.

 

Doug

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If the guy is found guilty and convicted, it could wreak havoc with his security clearance. He is a USAF engineer, odd are he has a clearance. Having a conviction on his record isn't good for clearances.

If he is the one who has been stealing caches in that area, he just might find himself out of a job, or at least no longer working for USAF.

 

I had another thought on this.

 

If he was using his computers at AFRL to look at the cache pages to plan inappropriate activity, even if he is not convicted of the crime of stealing caches he could still be in a world of legal hurt.

 

Groundspeak's server logs will contain that information.

 

This whole situation is really none of Groundspeak's business. Groundspeak is a listing service. I'd personally be a little pissed off if I found out that Groundspeak was releasing information about me in their logs without a warrant. Someone mentioned earlier that Groundspeak refused to do anything about the thefts in New York. That's a good thing. All Groundspeak should be worrying about is whether or not the cache is still at the location so they can disable it or archive it if necessary.

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I can read Mr. Repak's statement a little differently. Like I said, I don't know what kind of caches were stolen, but he could be meaning placements that, in his opinion, should have never been placed. I can sympathize. I see caches going out all around me that I think should not have been placed.

 

The guy was apparently going after everything and anything. As I mentioned earlier, last fall I DNFed a wilderness cache this guy's range that was a half a day paddle or a very long hike. It should have been a fairly easy find. I was in touch with the cache owner who complained to me about a guy who was raiding the back country caches in the area. He felt this person objected to back country caches. Yet I was surprised to learn that he also stole the one at the Adirondack Museum 9 times. That is not a backcountry cache by any measure.

Nor was the one that he was caught at.

 

Micros around town, back country ammo boxes, all appear to be the target of this fellow.

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it's very entertaining to see non-lawyers debating opinions on what the law does and does not say with actual lawyers.

 

I got a good laugh out of that as well. Google kings debating nuances of law with people with formal training and years of experience in it.

 

Actually, I rather like it. Clients are often the best source as a b.s. detector (as well as the best source of b.s.). And it's great because, unlike most other professions, everyone has a right to an opinion about stuff (and I mean that -- it's everyone's law -- and the only thing I'm privileged to do is actually charge people for advice about it and argue before a judge about it).

 

The reason I looked up the Personal Property law is that it's the only thing that comes close to our situation. A geocache is someone's personal property so what ought someone do with it when they "find" it. In New York, they can't just walk off with it. At *best* that's what our friend the cache maggot did. So what are his obligations in that situation? New York law is pretty clear that he's supposed to report it to the police. He didn't do *that* Theft might be a harder case to make if his defense is "I was picking up trash" (which would be the best defense I can think of for the price you all are paying me :rolleyes: ) But even there, he's got the personal property law to face.

 

As to our friend in Fairfax working post-conviction death penalty stuff: you do underappreciated work without which the California bar would be the poorer. So, thanks.

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For the wannabe legal beagles in the group, I believe New Yorn Abandoned Property Laws are what you'd want to read.
I came across some of those, but they were not contemplating caching so at some point I thought about looking at the case law for a broader definition that might apply. But it can also send you on tangents. The real issue as far as I can tell is whether the cache owner has a legal right to possession that makes Mr. Repak's actions larceny.

 

My relatively uninformed gut feeling based on courts I have been in front of 3000 miles away is that most judges would be reluctant to confer "ownership" on an activity that involves placing items on property without express permission, but would find it if the cache owner had express permission. If you come onto my property and stick something on my wall and ask that other people find it, does that give you a legal right to possession or can I take the object with the intent to permanently deprive you of it? Then can a third party come in and take it with that same intent -- and who are they taking it from? It can start to get sticky.

 

Then you have the issue of the search. If the search was valid, and most courts want to find that it is, how do you prove that each of these items were stolen? That could get rather complicated and involve a lengthy jury trial. Over a game. If the search was not valid, then intent is going to be more circumstantial and a juror could go off in any direction.

 

So a pretrial disposition short of conviction seems like it benefits everyone. The judge does not have to worry about making new law, whether he or she got the jury instructions right, and the rest. The DA can move along their caseload. The defense attorney gets his or her fees (assuming that Repak does not qualify for a publid defender). The accused might have to attend classes or do community service, but hopefully the issue is resolved and the guy never has to appear in front of the judge again. That is ultimately the judicial interest in the preceding.

 

And if the judge is a cacher, does he or she have to be recused?

So, in your experience, do you don't believe that this will ever actually go beyond a plea bargain? That is what my totally uninformed speculation would be.
I wonder if it will get that far.

 

IF it did go to a jury trial, what would constitute a jury of his peers... at least half geocachers? engineers? people who are both and neither? More issues!

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The guy was apparently going after everything and anything. . . . Micros around town, back country ammo boxes, all appear to be the target of this fellow.

 

Although I would not be pleased if he were doing this in my area, that is what makes him interesting. It was not that long ago when several caches I looked for were missing as a result of what seems to be a dispute between individuals. But this guy made it into an obsession. My wife thinks I am obsessed because of some of the places I stop for just to sign my name or initials on a log. But if I told her that I had to go out because a new cache was published and I had to remove it, she would probably take away my gpsr. There is a whole lot to Mr. Repak that we do not know, and may never know.

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For the wannabe legal beagles in the group, I believe New Yorn Abandoned Property Laws are what you'd want to read.
I came across some of those, but they were not contemplating caching so at some point I thought about looking at the case law for a broader definition that might apply. But it can also send you on tangents. The real issue as far as I can tell is whether the cache owner has a legal right to possession that makes Mr. Repak's actions larceny.

 

My relatively uninformed gut feeling based on courts I have been in front of 3000 miles away is that most judges would be reluctant to confer "ownership" on an activity that involves placing items on property without express permission, but would find it if the cache owner had express permission. If you come onto my property and stick something on my wall and ask that other people find it, does that give you a legal right to possession or can I take the object with the intent to permanently deprive you of it? Then can a third party come in and take it with that same intent -- and who are they taking it from? It can start to get sticky.

 

Then you have the issue of the search. If the search was valid, and most courts want to find that it is, how do you prove that each of these items were stolen? That could get rather complicated and involve a lengthy jury trial. Over a game. If the search was not valid, then intent is going to be more circumstantial and a juror could go off in any direction.

 

So a pretrial disposition short of conviction seems like it benefits everyone. The judge does not have to worry about making new law, whether he or she got the jury instructions right, and the rest. The DA can move along their caseload. The defense attorney gets his or her fees (assuming that Repak does not qualify for a publid defender). The accused might have to attend classes or do community service, but hopefully the issue is resolved and the guy never has to appear in front of the judge again. That is ultimately the judicial interest in the preceding.

 

And if the judge is a cacher, does he or she have to be recused?

So, in your experience, do you don't believe that this will ever actually go beyond a plea bargain? That is what my totally uninformed speculation would be.
I wonder if it will get that far.

 

IF it did go to a jury trial, what would constitute a jury of his peers... at least half geocachers? engineers? people who are both and neither? More issues!

If I were his lawyer, I would try to deselect every person who has an inkling of the game. I would want people to have to learn about the game in the trial. This would lead to a higher percentage of people who think the entire thing is stupid and would be (hopefully) less likely to wish to punish him.

 

Conversely, if I were the prosecuter, I would be likely to want more geocachers. This would be harder, I think, because anyone in the area who has ever gone after a cache that turned out to be missing or had owned a cache that had gone missing might certainly be determined to be tainted.

Edited by sbell111

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The guy was apparently going after everything and anything. As I mentioned earlier, last fall I DNFed a wilderness cache this guy's range that was a half a day paddle or a very long hike. It should have been a fairly easy find. I was in touch with the cache owner who complained to me about a guy who was raiding the back country caches in the area. He felt this person objected to back country caches. Yet I was surprised to learn that he also stole the one at the Adirondack Museum 9 times. That is not a back-country cache by any measure.

Nor was the one that he was caught at.

 

Micros around town, back country ammo boxes, all appear to be the target of this fellow.

 

Kind of makes me think your environmental whack-job* angle might not be the case. Or maybe he's just an equal oppertunity kind of guy. At any rate, I put my money on disgruntled former cacher.

 

 

 

*My words, not yours.

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In some ways I hope this guy gets convicted of a crime and in other ways I hope he gets off scot free (legally speaking).

 

Here's my logic.

If he gets convicted, then people (cachers) will feel a sense of justice being given. They will feel good that he was punished.

If he doesn't get convicted, some person who is teetering on the edge between good and evil may just decide that there HAS to be some justice and make his life miserable, like he has done to others.

 

Either way, I'm OK with it.

 

Hmmm.. Let's compare the two crimes:

 

1) Stealing people's game pieces

2) Stalking

 

Yeah..... Sounds like a great plan :rolleyes:

 

Oh, I dunno. I liked the "rattling pebbles in ammo cans" idea. Maybe a special flash mob event? :huh:

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IF it did go to a jury trial, what would constitute a jury of his peers... at least half geocachers? engineers? people who are both and neither? More issues!

 

In my state the jury would be people who have never heard about caching, who have no opinions about it one way or the other, and who probably have never had anything taken from them before and would not let any emotional issues they might have get in the way of their application of the law. Cachers go immediately. Engineers are next, I would never want them on the jury. On behalf of Mr. Repak, I would be looking for people who might say, "you're talkin' about a magnetic do-dad someone put on someone else's land [or wherever it might have been]?"

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IF it did go to a jury trial, what would constitute a jury of his peers... at least half geocachers? engineers? people who are both and neither? More issues!

 

In my state the jury would be people who have never heard about caching, who have no opinions about it one way or the other, and who probably have never had anything taken from them before and would not let any emotional issues they might have get in the way of their application of the law. Cachers go immediately. Engineers are next, I would never want them on the jury. On behalf of Mr. Repak, I would be looking for people who might say, "you're talkin' about a magnetic do-dad trinket someone put on someone else's land [or wherever it might have been]?"

:rolleyes:

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...When we CITO, should we consider the person's intent for every bit of rubbish that we bag? Of course not. We make the assumption that the bit of trash that we are picking up is litter....

 

We do consider the intent. Find a banna peel, yup rubbish. Find a gun. Hmmm...that's not litter maybe I should call the police. Find a wallet, maybe I should use the DL to find the owner. We do consider the intent and use our judgment when finding objects, or practicing CITO. For most trash, it's pretty clear.

 

Back to my Fish and GAme example. If you thow away a camera left by Fish and Game that clearly looks broken and it's traced to you (because it wired your photo in) I dont' think your faulty judgment will be a factor. Your intent may be.

 

It's a simple fact that a cache has a better pedigree of ownership than most things. It's als oa simple fact that most of us claim ownership of our caches.

 

Edit: The gun did happen here. They threw it away first. Then rethought that action.

Edited by Renegade Knight

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The guy was apparently going after everything and anything. As I mentioned earlier, last fall I DNFed a wilderness cache this guy's range that was a half a day paddle or a very long hike. It should have been a fairly easy find. I was in touch with the cache owner who complained to me about a guy who was raiding the back country caches in the area. He felt this person objected to back country caches. Yet I was surprised to learn that he also stole the one at the Adirondack Museum 9 times. That is not a back-country cache by any measure.

Nor was the one that he was caught at.

 

Micros around town, back country ammo boxes, all appear to be the target of this fellow.

 

Kind of makes me think your environmental whack-job* angle might not be the case. Or maybe he's just an equal oppertunity kind of guy. At any rate, I put my money on disgruntled former cacher.

 

*My words, not yours.

I'm in the camp that he simply saw geocaching as something wrong and set about righting it, as a self apointed vigilante.

 

Were he on the environmental impact tangent I expect he would have been vocally opposing geocaching, in the news or on the web. Nothing like that has popped up in Google, jus this scientific work.

 

For years there was a fellow in the San Francisco East Bay region who was vehemently anti-mountain biking, to the point of sabotaging trails and setting traps (like nails in boards to flatten tires, which could easily have harmed hikers, too.) He would petition any and all govenment groups on banning mountain bikes from all park trails and even appear at hearings to state his views. Mr. Repak doesn't appear to be cut from the same cloth. He was quiet about it, yet determined.

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So to reverse the question. Do you have any doubt that taking a field instrument used by Fish and Game on non fish and game lands would be theft?

 

I have not looked up fish and game laws, but I assume that the agency has legal authorization to place a field instrument in particular locations. I would be upset if they came into my office and put one there.

 

On the other hand, I am not sure there is a claim of ownership (for the purposes of NY's larceny statute) over every cache that has ever been placed. in that state. Under NY law, an owner is one with the right to possession. Does placing a cache wherever you want automatically give you that right under the law? Some jurisdictions have specifically described unauthorized geocaches as both litter and abandoned property, which to my mind does not equate with a right of possesion. Rome does not address the issue.

 

Even if there is ownership for larceny purposes, some states allow a claim of right defense if the accused mistakenly believes he has the legal right to remove the property - as a person might do coming across abandoned property. I don't practice in NY so I do not know how far the defense goes in that state.

 

I tend to be wary of blanket statements, particularly when there is a lot I do not know about the facts that might be at issue. And Mr Repak's case is somewhat unique (thankfully). But if someone removes a lamp post hide from a mall parking lot where permission has never been obtained I don't think that it amounts to larceny. If a hiker comes across a geocache that has been broken and scattered about and takes it to the nearest trash bin - keeping the golf ball for himself - I don't think of it as larceny. In the end, there is a fair amount of room to argue about where Repak stands on the scale.

 

Over the years I have disagreed with a number of prosecutors and (sadly) even a fair number of judges. I would have to know a lot more about the particular cache and do a lot more research before deciding whether I could convince a court that petty larceny does not apply, but off the top of my head I think I could make an argument. That is what makes the law (and this particular case) interesting....

 

You ask good questions.

How you describe my personal property paints a picture, especially if you are going for a specific effect. Politicians like to describe caching as a "game" when they want to ban it from a place where folks dont' like games. Spin is different than facts. How someone may describe my personal property doesn't change it to something other than my personal property. That I put it where it may not be wanted (or even where it is wanted) doesn't change that it's my personal property. Heck even if the land manager uses the abandoned property laws to get rid of a cache it doesn't change that it's personal property. Proof there is that I can go claim it and normally the rules allow for that (since in reality agencies understand the concept of personal propery and would rather have the owner claim it than dispose of it).

 

You make a great point about the reasonable right to remove the property. If somone thought it was litter and tossed it. I hold no hard feelings. They did no wrong. That goes back to intent though. If they knew it was a cache and took it anyway (and a power maggot knows it's a cache) then they know they are taking personal property they have no right to take. This is a great example of why judges have (and should have) latitude.

 

Your parting advice for the guy is good. Go for the plea. I for one having dealt with someone amazingly similar would want the book thrown at him for the legal maximum available. I'm willing to help pay for an attorney if someone closer to the issue wants to force the issue.

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...When we CITO, should we consider the person's intent for every bit of rubbish that we bag? Of course not. We make the assumption that the bit of trash that we are picking up is litter....

 

We do consider the intent. Find a banna peel, yup rubbish. Find a gun. Hmmm...that's not litter maybe I should call the police. Find a wallet, maybe I should use the DL to find the owner. We do consider the intent and use our judgment when finding objects, or practicing CITO. For most trash, it's pretty clear.

 

Back to my Fish and GAme example. If you thow away a camera left by Fish and Game that clearly looks broken and it's traced to you (because it wired your photo in) I dont' think your faulty judgment will be a factor. Your intent may be.

 

It's a simple fact that a cache has a better pedigree of ownership than most things. It's als oa simple fact that most of us claim ownership of our caches.

You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?

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I'm in the camp that he simply saw geocaching as something wrong and set about righting it, as a self apointed vigilante.
Me, too.

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Micros around town, back country ammo boxes, all appear to be the target of this fellow.

If the selection of caches are across a broad range, then it could simply be little different than most shoplifting I come across: took it just because they wanted it and didn't want to pay for it. The vast majority of the time the shoplifter either had the money for the item on them or could have asked a friend or family member with them for it. They all then want to simply pay for the item(s) and be done with it.

 

It doesn't work that way.

 

The risk for shoplifting isn't simply having to pay for the item(s) after all. It's a large fine, possible jail time, and a record. In SC, if you have two previous convictions for certain property crimes then you get charged with a felony and can get up to 10 years in prison. That dollar item you steal could remove you from society for a long time.

 

I would say most shoplifters get away with it for a while. Most stores either don't know specifics--only that they have shrinkage--or don't want to confront the offender. However, when the same shoplifter comes into a store that vigorously pursues and prosecutes then it's a different story. And I'm told about 95% of the time, it's their first time getting caught. Rap sheets tell a different story. A lot more 5% have been arrested for property crimes.

 

And you'd be amazed at the backgrounds of some of these folks. I've arrested daughters of active deputies. I've detained and released (with documents the same as an arrest and jailing, but for juveniles) offspring of retired high-level brass of my own department. (Not a pleasant experience.) They all had the money on them!

 

What's amazing is how few of the truly indigent we arrest. Sure, we get a few of the winos and crack addicts, but it's actually rare in my experience. I've personally never arrested a non-addict, homeless person for shoplifting in my short time as an LEO--or even responded to a call for one for that matter. Most shoplifters and the like are folks who have a roof over their heads and money in their pocket with no valid reason or excuse. It seems like the homeless would rather beg for money than steal food.

 

Perhaps Mr. Repak falls in the same category as these shoplifters. Restitution could [/i]start[/i] with returning or replacing the stolen caches. Perhaps the person having dialog with Mr. Repak can get to the bottom of simply how many and which caches were stolen. Then work out a deal with Carole Darling to drop the charges in lieu of the restitution.

 

I'm sure something could be worked out.

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IF it did go to a jury trial, what would constitute a jury of his peers... at least half geocachers? engineers? people who are both and neither? More issues!

 

In my state the jury would be people who have never heard about caching, who have no opinions about it one way or the other, and who probably have never had anything taken from them before and would not let any emotional issues they might have get in the way of their application of the law. Cachers go immediately. Engineers are next, I would never want them on the jury. On behalf of Mr. Repak, I would be looking for people who might say, "you're talkin' about a magnetic do-dad someone put on someone else's land [or wherever it might have been]?"

 

I'm no lawyer, but I have served for jury duty on four different occasions- all civil court. Based on my experiance, most people will try to be fair and balanced and listen to the legal advice given to them by the judge. Of the four cases that I was selected for the jury I can tell you each one had "that guy". The guy that tries to game the system with his answers to the lawyers during the selection to somehow assure that he gets on the jury to promote his agenda.

 

For all I know the lawyers both tried to throw one screw-ball into the mix on purpose. Maybe they were really fooled, who knows?

 

In all four cases, the other members of the jury and I were all able to overwhelm "that guy" with the directions the judge had given us, the word of law, and our greater numbers (fueled by a desire to be home soon and sitting at the diner table.)

 

In three of those four cases "that guy" was an engineer. In the fourth, he was a local business owner- the case involved a local business.

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it's very entertaining to see non-lawyers debating opinions on what the law does and does not say with actual lawyers.

 

An interesting thing about the law. We are all subject to it. We are all expected to know it, understand it, and toe the line. Ignorance is no excuse. The very legal concept of a reasonable person ties into the common citizen.

 

We absolutly should be discussing, debating, and coming to an understanding. We even have the power of jury nullification which can and should be used when a law has passed what is reasonable.

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Here's another more constructive suggestion to further geocaching interests and education about this activity. How about a "Cache Thief" series?

 

It could feature caches placed in some of the spots that have been archived where this person stold them. Perhaps every cache in the series could contain excerpts from the news article about Mr. Repek's arrest, and any anecdotal information about that particular original cache that was stolen. The one at the Adirondack Museum, for example, could describe how it was stolen multiple times including when the thief had to sever a chain that was securing it into place.

 

If some cache owners thought it was appropriate, they could also consider finding lawful cache placements in the series that could mark a point reasonably close to where the alleged cache thief lives, works, etc.

 

And perhaps the most interesting part of doing such a series is that Mr. Repek himself would have a personal interest in making sure none of those caches were stolen, since he would in all likelihood be the first suspect if that happened.

 

I have no doubt that some folks might not think this is a constructive suggestion, but I believe it could be done in a way that did send a positive, pro-geocaching message.

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...You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?

 

The reasonableness of your actions in what you do upon finding tupperware, is different from ownership. In all cases that cache is owned and is personal property.

 

Joe Boyscout may find a cache and toss it earning a handy CITO badge. Good for him. His judgment was incorrect but not unreasonable. Erickson made a good point about this angle.

 

Joe Maggot, using geocaching.com to find 600 caches and steal them knowing full well they were owned (the owner is on each cache listing) is stealing. His judgment is quite accurate and entirly unreasonable. They are caches, they are taking them.

 

In both cases the cache is personal property. On the one hand the person can make a reasonable claim that "they didn't know, nor did they have any reason to know" it wasn't a mouldy lunch. On the other they can't, they knew the entire time they were stealing.

Edited by Renegade Knight

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...You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?

 

The reasonableness of your actions in what you do upon finding tupperware, is different from ownership. In all cases that cache is owned and is personal property.

 

Joe Boyscout may find a cache and toss it earning a handy CITO badge. Good for him. His judgment was incorrect but not unreasonable. Erickson made a good point about this angle.

 

Joe Maggot, using geocaching.com to find 600 caches and steal them knowing full well they were owned (the owner is on each cache listing) is stealing. His judgment is quite accurate and entirly unreasonable. They are caches, they are taking them.

 

In both cases the cache is personal property. On the one hand the person can make a reasonable claim that "they didn't know, nor did they have any reason to know" it wasn't a mouldy lunch. On the other they can't, they knew the entire time they were stealing.

You are diverging from the issue of litter.

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And you'd be amazed at the backgrounds of some of these folks. I've arrested daughters of active deputies. I've detained and released (with documents the same as an arrest and jailing, but for juveniles) offspring of retired high-level brass of my own department. (Not a pleasant experience.) They all had the money on them!

 

What's amazing is how few of the truly indigent we arrest. Sure, we get a few of the winos and crack addicts, but it's actually rare in my experience. I've personally never arrested a non-addict, homeless person for shoplifting in my short time as an LEO--or even responded to a call for one for that matter. Most shoplifters and the like are folks who have a roof over their heads and money in their pocket with no valid reason or excuse. It seems like the homeless would rather beg for money than steal food.

 

Most of what I've read and heard about shoplifting, it's rarely about stealing to survive. Much less because of "need" and more because of "want" or compulsion- and less about the item being stolen and more about the act of stealing. For most shoplifters the perceived benefit is from the action and not whatever it is they take, although they may hoard or collect the stolen goods.

 

Your experiance seems to support what I've read.

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approach to that around the world... finders keepers sounds nice, but... except on the high seas, it doesn't always work out like in the movies.

Doug

 

And not even on the high seas! Ask Lloyd's of London who *they* think owns half the sunken treasure in the world. There is a great body of litigation about the discovery of the S.S. Central America, the (I believe) highest valued treasure find ever in the western hemisphere. Turned out that Lloyd's had paid out a claim to the owners of the ship and therefore owned the ship. Question was whether Lloyd's, in not seeking out the ship, had abandoned their claim and therefore lost the claim, or whether they still owned the ship and its contents and therefore only had to pay out salvage rights (10%). I think it ended up being settled for 50/50 or some such.

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...You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?

 

The reasonableness of your actions in what you do upon finding Tupperware, is different from ownership. In all cases that cache is owned and is personal property.

 

Joe Boyscout may find a cache and toss it earning a handy CITO badge. Good for him. His judgment was incorrect but not unreasonable. Erickson made a good point about this angle.

 

Joe Maggot, using geocaching.com to find 600 caches and steal them knowing full well they were owned (the owner is on each cache listing) is stealing. His judgment is quite accurate and entirely unreasonable. They are caches, they are taking them.

 

In both cases the cache is personal property. On the one hand the person can make a reasonable claim that "they didn't know, nor did they have any reason to know" it wasn't a mouldy lunch. On the other they can't, they knew the entire time they were stealing.

You are diverging from the issue of litter.

 

You're diverging from the issue of intent.

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...In three of those four cases "that guy" was an engineer. ...

I'm an engineer. That fact does a really good job of removing me from any jury pool. I probably would be "that guy". Heck half my job is dealing with an organization full of "those guys". When I tell you Engineers are a PITA, trust me on that.

 

Take a look at our arrested maggots background. No suprises there.

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...You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?

 

The reasonableness of your actions in what you do upon finding Tupperware, is different from ownership. In all cases that cache is owned and is personal property.

 

Joe Boyscout may find a cache and toss it earning a handy CITO badge. Good for him. His judgment was incorrect but not unreasonable. Erickson made a good point about this angle.

 

Joe Maggot, using geocaching.com to find 600 caches and steal them knowing full well they were owned (the owner is on each cache listing) is stealing. His judgment is quite accurate and entirely unreasonable. They are caches, they are taking them.

 

In both cases the cache is personal property. On the one hand the person can make a reasonable claim that "they didn't know, nor did they have any reason to know" it wasn't a mouldy lunch. On the other they can't, they knew the entire time they were stealing.

You are diverging from the issue of litter.

 

You're diverging from the issue of intent.

The issue of intent in regards to littering was resolved.

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...In three of those four cases "that guy" was an engineer. ...

I'm an engineer. That fact does a really good job of removing me from any jury pool. I probably would be "that guy". Heck half my job is dealing with an organization full of "those guys". When I tell you Engineers are a PITA, trust me on that.

 

Take a look at our arrested maggots background. No surprises there.

 

I work surrounded by engineers. I get what you're saying. I wish I knew which side (prosecution/defense) strikes the most engineers. I know that when somebody in the jury pools tells the lawyers during the jury interview what their job is it always gets a response- that I generally interpret as "well, you're out".

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...You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?

 

The reasonableness of your actions in what you do upon finding Tupperware, is different from ownership. In all cases that cache is owned and is personal property.

 

Joe Boyscout may find a cache and toss it earning a handy CITO badge. Good for him. His judgment was incorrect but not unreasonable. Erickson made a good point about this angle.

 

Joe Maggot, using geocaching.com to find 600 caches and steal them knowing full well they were owned (the owner is on each cache listing) is stealing. His judgment is quite accurate and entirely unreasonable. They are caches, they are taking them.

 

In both cases the cache is personal property. On the one hand the person can make a reasonable claim that "they didn't know, nor did they have any reason to know" it wasn't a mouldy lunch. On the other they can't, they knew the entire time they were stealing.

You are diverging from the issue of litter.

 

You're diverging from the issue of intent.

The issue of intent in regards to littering was resolved.

 

That's nice.

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...You are diverging from the issue of litter.

 

Caches are personal property. They can be confused with litter by folks who don't know better. I've addressed it.

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...You are diverging from the issue of litter.

 

Caches are personal property. They can be confused with litter by folks who don't know better. I've addressed it.

Whatever. I honestly don't understand why you made a big deal about it if that was going to be your boiled down position.

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...You are diverging from the issue of litter.

 

Caches are personal property. They can be confused with litter by folks who don't know better. I've addressed it.

Whatever. I honestly don't understand why you made a big deal about it if that was going to be your boiled down position.

OK... I can see where this thread is going...

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...You are diverging from the issue of litter.
Caches are personal property. They can be confused with litter by folks who don't know better. I've addressed it.
Whatever. I honestly don't understand why you made a big deal about it if that was going to be your boiled down position.
Umm. . .

 

You were the one who said:

You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?
. . . so it would seem it is you who is making a "big deal" about it, not RK.

 

How is one answering your direct question making a big deal? Seems you're the one making a big deal, or at least trying to draw attention away from the actual point he was making.

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...You are diverging from the issue of litter.
Caches are personal property. They can be confused with litter by folks who don't know better. I've addressed it.
Whatever. I honestly don't understand why you made a big deal about it if that was going to be your boiled down position.
Umm. . .

 

You were the one who said:

You find a piece of tupperware in the woods. Do you open it (subjecting yourself to someones old moldy lunch), do you drive to the police station to turn it in (subjecting yourself to their ridicule and wasting your time) or do you throw it away?
. . . so it would seem it is you who is making a "big deal" about it, not RK.

 

How is one answering your direct question making a big deal? Seems you're the one making a big deal, or at least trying to draw attention away from the actual point he was making.

 

Please. Groundspeak forum is not the place for petty arguments that nobody cares about.

Oh wait, yes it is.

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