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L0ne.R

Parking Lot Caches and Bomb Squads

20 posts in this topic

The other day on the letterboxing forums we were discussing the first ever letterbox "blown up" by a bomb squad. It was a capped pipe style container under a lamp post skirt in a parking lot. Someone posted a link to the "Bad Ideas, Bomb Scares, etc." bookmark list on gc.com. I went through the list looking for some kind of common denominator. I scanned through the BM list's descriptions, the cache write-ups and street view images. My summary:

  • Dunkin Donuts - parking lot
  • Burlington Coat Factory - parking lot - capped pipe
  • Best Buy - parking lot
  • Elementary School - a few feet from the school parking lot
  • Walmart Admin - parking lot
  • No Trespassing location - Groundspeak removed the cache description from their database
  • Army Corp property
  • Private Property with No Trespassing signs - River Drainage and Levee District
  • Medical Center - parking lot
  • University property
  • Manufacturing factory property in the hedge
  • Walmart - outside the doors next to the parking lot
  • City park near backyards - cache looked like a pipe bomb
  • High School - parking lot
  • AAA Auto Club - parking lot
  • LA Airport - near sidewalk next to parking lot
  • In a tree on residential property - angry neighbours called the police
  • Boat ramp on a lake
  • Police station - in a retaining wall next to the parking lot by the police station

Looks like it's very risky to plant in or near a busy parking lot.

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Bomb Squards are known to hang out in parking lots, especialy that Dunkin Donuts one.

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very true...they also like Shipleys

Edited by Contra1971
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Not to take your thread off topic, but that is seriously the first Letterbox ever blown up listed on AtlasQuest since the site went live in 2004?

 

Besides, you're preaching to the choir with me. Mr. Yuck has been against, and ignores, all caches on private property without permission ever since the first turd turned up in my area on a Cracker Barrel porch in late 2004. :D

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A similar container design was detonated in a former Army base near me, so I'm not sure parking lot theory always holds. That letterbox was found by a hiker near a popular overlook.

 

Similarly, in the Southern part of the County where I live, a PVC pipe hanging from a tree on about the loneliest stretch of backroad you can imagine was spotted by a road crew working on fire breaks that resulted in a callout. No parking lot in site.

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I'm not sure it's so much that police hang out in parking lots, but rather that lots of muggles do. If a muggle sees someone placing what looks like a pipe bomb under a lamp pole skirt (which the muggle probably didn't realize is possible), what do you think they're going to do? I would.

 

The lesson should be to use cache containers that don't look like pipe bombs in crowded public areas. Actually, it's probably a good idea to avoid containers that look like pipe bombs anywhere.

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A similar container design was detonated in a former Army base near me, so I'm not sure parking lot theory always holds. That letterbox was found by a hiker near a popular overlook.

 

Similarly, in the Southern part of the County where I live, a PVC pipe hanging from a tree on about the loneliest stretch of backroad you can imagine was spotted by a road crew working on fire breaks that resulted in a callout. No parking lot in site.

 

Yes, I agree, caches have been blown up just about anywhere. Did the OP calculate what percentage of the blow ups on the bookmark list were parking lots? I do know it definitely seems like most of the reports the last year or two are from parking lots.

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It's risky to hide on signs in the middle of nowhere.

 

It's risky to hide in little garden areas.

 

It's risky to hide them under trees.

 

It's risky to hide them around brown cows.

 

It's risky to fasten caches to fences. (At least sometimes the cops and cache owners have a sense of humor about it.)

 

It's definitely risky to drop the cache and run when questioned by neighbors. :laughing:

 

It's risky to plug your geocaches into trees.

 

It's risky to make geocaches out of PVC period, regardless of if it's in a park. People like to blow up trees, apparently.

 

It's risky to create caches that are highly favorited if they are chained to poles and have writing on them.

 

I'm tired of looking these up. The point is, parking lot caches might have a slightly higher percentage of bomb scares, but people will pretty much report anything. The best way to avoid bomb scares is to use appropriate containers when hiding in high traffic areas, actually get permission for your hides, and even then you can't guarantee anything.

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It's risky to hide on signs in the middle of nowhere.

 

It's risky to hide in little garden areas.

 

It's risky to hide them under trees.

 

It's risky to hide them around brown cows.

 

It's risky to fasten caches to fences. (At least sometimes the cops and cache owners have a sense of humor about it.)

 

It's definitely risky to drop the cache and run when questioned by neighbors. :laughing:

 

It's risky to plug your geocaches into trees.

 

It's risky to make geocaches out of PVC period, regardless of if it's in a park. People like to blow up trees, apparently.

 

It's risky to create caches that are highly favorited if they are chained to poles and have writing on them.

 

I'm tired of looking these up. The point is, parking lot caches might have a slightly higher percentage of bomb scares, but people will pretty much report anything. The best way to avoid bomb scares is to use appropriate containers when hiding in high traffic areas, actually get permission for your hides, and even then you can't guarantee anything.

 

Somewhere in there is a new Dr. Suess storybook.

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Paranoid idiots will call in a bomb scare because they are paranoid idiots. Dosen't matter how or where you attempt to hide something. Oh, without bombs and bomb scares, there'd be no bomb squad. Job security and all.

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Not to take your thread off topic, but that is seriously the first Letterbox ever blown up listed on AtlasQuest since the site went live in 2004?

 

Yes, as far as I know and I've been on the LBNA forums since 2001 and the AQ site/forums since 2004.

 

Besides, you're preaching to the choir with me. Mr. Yuck has been against, and ignores, all caches on private property without permission ever since the first turd turned up in my area on a Cracker Barrel porch in late 2004. :D

.

 

Not so much preaching, just an observation after going over the bomb squad list. At first I was wondering if there was a link with cache size or cache type but it seems that parking lots are one of the riskiest places to hide a cache.

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WoW!! What a story and they even had a flash mob funeral for it!!

 

Yes, that is a very interesting story! Love the concept behind the cache.

 

Wow, Lone R, I can't believe that is possibly the first ever blown up Letterbox!! That hobby really is much smaller and much more "under the radar" than I thought.

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WoW!! What a story and they even had a flash mob funeral for it!!

 

Yes, that is a very interesting story! Love the concept behind the cache.

 

Wow, Lone R, I can't believe that is possibly the first ever blown up Letterbox!! That hobby really is much smaller and much more "under the radar" than I thought.

 

Some letterboxes may not be "hidden" in the way that a Geocache is, which may contribute to that. Some may be inside businesses and may even be held onto by the employees of a business. For example, a "Pub Crawl" series contains the following instructions for one of the letterboxes:

 

Enter and go to the bar. Ask for a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes to receive. Say Please and Thank you!
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WoW!! What a story and they even had a flash mob funeral for it!!

 

Yes, that is a very interesting story! Love the concept behind the cache.

 

Wow, Lone R, I can't believe that is possibly the first ever blown up Letterbox!! That hobby really is much smaller and much more "under the radar" than I thought.

 

Some letterboxes may not be "hidden" in the way that a Geocache is, which may contribute to that. Some may be inside businesses and may even be held onto by the employees of a business. For example, a "Pub Crawl" series contains the following instructions for one of the letterboxes:

 

Enter and go to the bar. Ask for a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes to receive. Say Please and Thank you!

 

Ironically enough, that sounds exactly like the pub crawl I linked to in another thread a week or two ago! And I was trying to make the point that over half of them were inside establishments, and obviously without permission. Some mention it, most don't. Why wouldn't you mention it if you had permission?

 

I was a Geocacher first, joined AQ in early 2005 (I have a very low member number, a thousand something). But I've only dabbled in it; 25 logged finds I believe. And probably about 15 stumbled on while looking for Geocaches (seriously, I'm not making that up). To me, in my area, they seem to be pretty much hidden in the same way, and same types of areas as Geocaches. And I've seen (but not necessarily found) about 5 LPC letterboxes in my area.

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That is from that pub crawl list, but this one apparently not only had permission (even though it wasn't explicitly said) but had the help of the employees.

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One thing that seems lacking. . on the part of both some geocachers, and some authorities concerns the "where" of some of these caches. Consider, in the good old USA, or even generally speaking when have you heard of of a bomb being planted in a PARKING LOT? Generally, they are observed with people who have nothing better to do than hatch the excitement of calling the police for a bomb.

 

Besides, someone needs to remind the world that placing a bomb as a geocache would be a violation of both the geocaching rules as well as the rules of model rocketry. . . (Ok, that was intended to cause a chuckle. . )

 

But seriously, a little common sense when placing some of these caches would go a long way.

 

Geez, my number is 18,638. . I've been doing this a while!

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One thing that seems lacking. . on the part of both some geocachers, and some authorities concerns the "where" of some of these caches. Consider, in the good old USA, or even generally speaking when have you heard of of a bomb being planted in a PARKING LOT? Generally, they are observed with people who have nothing better to do than hatch the excitement of calling the police for a bomb.

 

It happens. Here and elsewhere:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/18343166/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/bomb-found-texas-abortion-clinic-parking-lot/

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-09-06/news/bs-md-soda-bottle-bomb-20110906_1_soda-bottle-parking-lot-bomb

http://www.winknews.com/Local-Florida/2011-04-10/Bomb-explodes-in-Port-Charlotte-restaurant-parking-lot

http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_1803f0a1-4bfd-5d5b-9b02-5e38c2afffed.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/11/lebanon-beirut-bomb_n_924238.html

 

And one in a parking garage:

http://www.adl.org/learn/jttf/wtcb_jttf.asp

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This didn't sound right to me so I downloaded a pocket query of the 167 caches and compare with what was said in the original post. As it turns out, it takes a lot of time to go through each cache with a careful eye.

 

Due to time constraints I stopped at 30 caches (selected alphabetically) and of those 30 caches:

 

  • 15 involved a bomb Squad
  • Two were in a parking lot
  • Two were on the edge of a parking lot
  • One was near school
  • One had an unknown location
  • One was by a cemetery
  • Two were near a school
  • One was at the side of a road
  • Five were in parks or other green areas
  • A couple of caches listed above as being in parking lots but only had parking lot close by

Based on a careful examination of this subset I'd say the overarching reason for caches appearing on that list is "Permission issues" (non-public areas where permission was not obtained).

 

 

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Glad I read this thread. I never even thought of the fact that it may look like we are planting bombs. LOL One thing I hate about caching here in San Antonio Tx is the caches placed in HEAVILY populated & traveled places. Its like some perverse little side game for these people. I think a lot of it is nothing more than stat padding ops., as there are 1000s of them.

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