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Geocaching = "Suspicious Behavior"


MysteryGuy1
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I was looking for a cache over the weekend at an area generally used by kayakers to get on the lake.  At the same time a woman was there with two small children, just hanging out by the water.  After deciding I wasn't going make the find, and noticing the woman looking in my direction, I got in my car to leave.  As I left, I noticed her glaring at me very suspiciously until I was out of sight.  Very unsettling.  Anything like this ever happen to you?

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Sure it happens sometimes.   Or maybe I'm just paranoid.

If you have adequate permission to be there (it is a public place, it was placed with permission, etc) then really it is not her business either.  Obviously give her some space and don't be a creeper around her children ... even tell her    ' I'm just over here looking for something that I lost '    or maybe even explain geocaching to her.

 

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Encountering a parent with one or two children is an excellent opportunity to mention geocaching as another great activity for their family to do outdoors.  I've done this when caching in a cache rich area that is also a favorite biking, hiking and equestrian area. In all cases the family was most interested in hearing about caching. The flip side of the coin is that I often feel uncomfortable about being spotted in, or just leaving the bushes off to the side of the trail. Sigh...

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Yep, it has happened to me. In fact, I told the story here in these forums some time ago (although now I can't find the thread to link to).

Anyway, I was running errands and realized there was a cache near one of the stores I was shopping at. After making my purchase, I locked it in the car and walked out of the parking lot and across the street towards the cache. I hadn't even arrived at GZ yet or started looking around when a guy drove up behind me and started yelling out his window that I was suspicious and acting like a "terrorist". He had watched me put something in my car and walk away, so of course he assumed I planning something horrible. He ranted and threatened to call the police. Then he drove slowly behind me as I walked back to my car and followed me out of the parking lot.

So, who is more "suspicious"? me minding my own business - or a guy who watches and follows a single women around, then yells threats and accusations at her?

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Whenever I enter/exit the woods alone, I'm always aware of the fact that it might seem suspicious to anyone observing...especially if I'm in my work attire.  There are several parks around town that are obvious spots for "cruising" and illicit encounters, so it's doubly suspicious in those areas.  Normally I don't worry what people think since I'm not doing anything wrong and I'll never encounter these people ever again in my lifetime, but being a lone, 40-something male, I do limit my caching when it comes to areas near playgrounds or playing fields when there is activity in those places.  Even though I'm not doing anything wrong, I know that it can make people wary.  I'm a father...so I can easily put myself in their proverbial shoes.

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1 hour ago, J Grouchy said:

Whenever I enter/exit the woods alone, I'm always aware of the fact that it might seem suspicious to anyone observing...especially if I'm in my work attire.

My work attire works great in the woods.  It's in parking lots that it tends to stick out.  One reason why I don't chase LPCs as often, though of course there are others.

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Never thought I looked as a threat to others, but have had way too many issues in quite a few small parks (forget playgrounds...) .

I can see it if some idjut putting a cache in a small playground, and issues with " a woman  there with two small children", but I've had them move to the other side on trails as well.

The folks who say "talk to " or "explain to them" ...  well, reality says 911 (and 5-O)  is now a couple  seconds away...

 - And in case someone thinks I may look like Quasimodo, I've asked other males,  and they have the same problems as well.  :D

I just feel that some have become way too fragile at life in general lately, or whipped up in some odd non-existent state of alarm.

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5 hours ago, CascadeHandmade said:

Yep, it has happened to me. In fact, I told the story here in these forums some time ago (although now I can't find the thread to link to).

Anyway, I was running errands and realized there was a cache near one of the stores I was shopping at. After making my purchase, I locked it in the car and walked out of the parking lot and across the street towards the cache. I hadn't even arrived at GZ yet or started looking around when a guy drove up behind me and started yelling out his window that I was suspicious and acting like a "terrorist". He had watched me put something in my car and walk away, so of course he assumed I planning something horrible. He ranted and threatened to call the police. Then he drove slowly behind me as I walked back to my car and followed me out of the parking lot.

So, who is more "suspicious"? me minding my own business - or a guy who watches and follows a single women around, then yells threats and accusations at her?

I'd have called the police for him.

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18 minutes ago, BC & MsKitty said:

I'd have called the police for him.

It's unlikely that such an encounter would occur around here, but if it were to happen, I'd happily wait for him to follow through on his threat so he can learn how much of an idiot he was truly being (though someone so paranoid probably still wouldn't learn). However, since BC & MsKitty said she was a lone woman, I don't blame her for just getting out of there. Sometimes it's easier (and safer) to just leave.

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Went for a three part multi in a park.  Second part was an MKH on a bench.  A woman walked by,violating the park rules (no children in this area).  We went on to the third stage, then wandered off into the swamp for a mystery cache.  When we came out of the swamp (wrong way in), the police were waiting for us.  The woman breaking the rules reported us for being suspicious???  

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If I had a quarter for every quarter I've said I lost when asked what I was looking for, I'd have a lot of quarters. That said, urban-style 'caches are not my favorite, just because of the "suspicious behavior" that often accompanies searching for them. I much prefer hiking for ammo cans in the woods. When I do search for LPC's or GRC's or park bench magnetic 'caches, etc. I just remind myself that it's uncertainty that attracts attention. If you project an air of confidence that you belong where you are and are supposed to be doing what you're doing, most folks will simply ignore you.

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Recently I was searching a cache in Calgary that was attached to the fence of a "bicycle parking lot", with a public building (maybe it was the city hall) above, left and right to it.

After 10 minutes or so a police officer came around and asked what we where doing. I told him that we were "Geocaching" and he said "Well, I could tell you where it is, but that would be cheating. But you're looking at the right place."

After I found it, two more officers came around the corner and correctly guessed that we are Geocaching.

So, if the correct people are informed there are no problems..

In general I'd say the same thing that @SweetPea&CrewsCr said, just look as if you are supposed to do what you are doing and you'll attract the least attention. And if people stare at you, look them into the eyes and they'll move on. I don't know if people in the US are generally faster in calling the police, but I never had someone call the police because me Geocaching..

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A year ago I'd found a cache hidden in a tree hollow on the edge of a tidal estuary and was putting the log back in the container when the lid broke off and fell into the oozy mud below. I was searching for it while trying not to step on any oyster shells with my bare feet, when a woman, a neighbour from across the reserve, walked over and asked if I was hunting Pokemons. Different I suppose. And yes, I did eventually find the lid.

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On one of my first caches, when I wasn't fully aware of how precise GPS coordinates are, I spent about 20 minutes walking around Arsenal - a big historical building close to my flat in Warsaw which currently happens to house an archeology museum, looking for a cache which is actually about 50 metres away from the building. After the 20 minutes a man came out of the building, stopped near me and pretended to mind his own business. When I got close to him, he grabbed my jacket and revealed himself to be a policeman, probably suspecting me of being a terrorist :D. We went to his small room in the building and I explained what I was trying to do - and as he had no idea about the cache, he tried to give me some advice that turned out to be completely wrong. So that was a nice start to geocaching :D.

 

And then just last Monday I was trying to find a cache at Charleroi airport in Belgium and I first approached it from the wrong direction. When I realised, I went back and when I was approaching it from the right direction I walked past two police officers with big rifles, who thought I was suspicious and followed me. Happily I found this one straight away so I just showed it to them saying "geocaching" and they knew what it was.

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I know some people who would use such an opportunity to explain the game to people who don't know about it.  But I tend to overthink things and worry that the person might not be receptive of the idea, or think I was making an excuse.  If I found the cache, then maybe I could show the suspicious person what I really came for.  But if I couldn't, it would make my excuse sound crazier ("I was looking for a film container in a tree...honest, I was...but it doesn't seem to be there...")

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I don't think this really has anything to do with geocaching. It's just an artifact of the modern idea that all strangers should be considered evil until proved otherwise. It's now considered a standard better-safe-than-sorry attitude, but personally I don't think it worth the cost to civil society.

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There is a cache in Rome near the Colosseum in a stone wall.  It's easy to see the hiding spot from 100' away so I just walked up to it, removed the container and replaced it.  Apparently, that was deemed suspicious as a few hundred feet down the road I was police (polizia) car pulled over a plain clothes cop got out, holding the cache and proceeded to question me about it...in Italian.  I speak very little Italian and they didn't seem to (or didn't want to) try and speak English.  After some help from a nearby street vendor they were able to bring up the GS site on their phone and read about how the game works (fortunately, there's an Italian translation).   The told me I was free to go and said that they'd put the cache back where it was hidden. Apparently they did as it was found a couple of times later in the day.

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2 hours ago, dprovan said:

I don't think this really has anything to do with geocaching. It's just an artifact of the modern idea that all strangers should be considered evil until proved otherwise. It's now considered a standard better-safe-than-sorry attitude, but personally I don't think it worth the cost to civil society.

Yep.  I agree.

Just this past weekend while doing a letterbox hybrid in a large township park, I stopped to take a mini break on a packed  trail in view of a main road.

Noticed a woman and dog gaining from the back, had an access bar and some water, watching swallowtails gulping the last few drops of dew on the grasses.

That lady almost smacked right into me, her face buried in her phone.  The dog happy to see another.  Said I scared her.

She wasn't paying any attention to her surroundings, and now apparently I'm a threat as, "He was just standing there right in front of me!" implied to whoever she was speaking to on her phone...

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29 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

Yep.  I agree.

Just this past weekend while doing a letterbox hybrid in a large township park, I stopped to take a mini break on a packed  trail in view of a main road.

Noticed a woman and dog gaining from the back, had an access bar and some water, watching swallowtails gulping the last few drops of dew on the grasses.

That lady almost smacked right into me, her face buried in her phone.  The dog happy to see another.  Said I scared her.

She wasn't paying any attention to her surroundings, and now apparently I'm a threat as, "He was just standing there right in front of me!" implied to whoever she was speaking to on her phone...

Funny, coming from someone nicknamed 'cerberus'...

 

cerberus.jpg

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While scrolling through I may have clicked accidently on report post. Opps!!!

This happened to me also I was on a public trail and home owner sicked her dog on me.

I stood my ground and made ready to kill the dog if need be. I also had told the home owner that I was ready and willing to kill the dog.

I later reported her.

She did get a visit and read the riot act by the authorities. I did not get into trouble since I had the legal right to kill the dog if need be.

I was called by the authorities and told that they paid the home owner a visit. She did not get arrested but did get into a lot of trouble.

 

Edited by Mn-treker
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When I see someone, I just ignore them, and go on about my business. If the politely ask what I'm up to, I'm happy to tell them.  On the other hand, if they decide to get in my face, threaten to call the cops, or just threaten me, the gloves come off. I have as much right to be there as they do, and they can kiss my stern.

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1 hour ago, Shop99er said:

When I see someone, I just ignore them, and go on about my business. If the politely ask what I'm up to, I'm happy to tell them.  On the other hand, if they decide to get in my face, threaten to call the cops, or just threaten me, the gloves come off. I have as much right to be there as they do, and they can kiss my stern.

 

Yeah, me too!  Just like today when I was placing the Monkeybutt Geocache in his spot.  Guys were parked right next to the short trail to the cache spot.  They were in a landscaping truck and a pickup truck, both facing the cache site, no hiding from that.  I simply grabbed the container and walked right past those guys into the forest with it, as if I do this every day.  Nothing to explain, I have the same rights to carry around a purple swinging monkeybutt container as they do to take a break right there!  And then I walked right past them again from the bushes without it, and I don't care if they wonder what in the world just happened.

9e50cc70-1626-460c-8478-854cb6663c51.jpg

 

OK, no.  No way.  Actually I put the whole thing into a large garbage bag, and took a back trail instead.  And I grabbed some trash on the way out in case anyone wondered what the bag was for.  :D

 

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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