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Chrisy123

Stealth

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How do I use stealth in very busy areas? Like do I wait for an hour for everybody to disappear or pretend to pick up litter or what?

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It depends on the area and the cache. Small children are often a good way to cloak any activity, but you obviously need to be with kids to do that.

 

Some people would suggest a high-vis jacket and a clipboard are the best way to be anonymous, so litter picking might well work as well.

 

It's also entirely reasonable to decide that you don't want to bother with that sort of cache very often.

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4 hours ago, Chrisy123 said:

How do I use stealth in very busy areas? Like do I wait for an hour for everybody to disappear or pretend to pick up litter or what?

 

Exactly why I don't do those caches, now that the other 2/3rds is taking a break from the hobby.    :)

Many we've found seem to be the CO saying, "Oh yeah.  Well ... see if you can get this one...",  and that doesn't seem fun to me. 

Throw in the majority in very-public areas rarely have permission.  Not many communities want people messing with their stuff...

When I did them, I simply acted like I belonged there, and grabbed whatever container it was, signed, and put it back.

Many years working in prisons, I think I can safely say few people are able to act "stealthy".  Furtive actions give people away.  ;)

 

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8 hours ago, Chrisy123 said:

How do I use stealth in very busy areas? Like do I wait for an hour for everybody to disappear or pretend to pick up litter or what?

I've picked up litter a number of times. When I spot the cache, the container goes into the bag too. A short time later, I take a break from picking up litter to sign the log, and then I replace the cache when I resume picking up litter.

 

Most people don't want to pay attention to what you're doing. They generally put you in a mental box (e.g., "someone picking up litter") and then ignore you. So make it easy for them to ignore you.

 

There are other approaches. Wearing a high-visibility vest and carrying a clipboard works for some people. Others just walk up to the cache location, sign the log, and walk off, as if that's just part of their everyday job. And as mentioned by cerberus1, some simply avoid caches in busy areas.

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You can also: search, find, don't pick it up, and keep pretending to search.  Then wander off, come back, and discreetly grab when nobody's looking.

 

It decouples the attention-getting search from the interesting fact you're leaving something behind.  (As does the litter technique mentioned above.)

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9 hours ago, Chrisy123 said:

How do I use stealth in very busy areas? Like do I wait for an hour for everybody to disappear or pretend to pick up litter or what?

My husband's philosophy is to act like he's supposed to be there. He says trying to be sneaky draws more attention. 😁

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19 hours ago, Viajero Perdido said:

You can also: search, find, don't pick it up, and keep pretending to search.  Then wander off, come back, and discreetly grab when nobody's looking.

 

It decouples the attention-getting search from the interesting fact you're leaving something behind.  (As does the litter technique mentioned above.)

 

Yes.   Searching for the cache likely generates the most attention.  Once the container is located, it can be much easier to extract the cache, move to a place where it can be opened and signed, then returned to its hiding spot.  Oh a cache in Barcelona I was able to locate a magnetic container, the wait until a tour guide directed the gaze of about 25 people standing 20' away in the opposite direction.  I snagged the container, walked about 50 feet away, signed the log and the tour was moving off to their next spot as I replaced it.  

 

In another situation, the cache was under a metal bench with someone standing 10 feet away.  I had my mother ask the guy for directions and as soon as he pointed off in the other direction, I grabbed the cache, handed it behind my back to my brother, who took it to another bench 100' away.  We had to wait for the muggle to move off before I could replace it.  

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I usually have a backpack with me when I cache, which can come in handy when using stealth around a cache. I usually take off the pack and have a root around inside to hide what I am actually doing, or to give me an excuse to hang around for a few minutes. I've placed the open pack on the ground and squatted next to it to sneakily look under benches, and placed it on walls and electrical boxes etc to look behind objects without looking like I am searching. To anyone else I am just getting something out of my pack.

 

Retying your shoe laces gives you an opportunity to look at ground level or under benches, whilst removing your shoe to shake out imaginary stones gives you a minute or two to inspect an area from eyeline to ground without raising to much suspicion.

 

Holding your phone to your ear let's you walk around a GZ without too much suspicion. Anyone observing will assume you are just pacing whilst having a conversation.

 

But I think the key to being stealthy is to act like you would anywhere else, at any other time, and ignore other people. If you keep looking around at other people or dart behind a bush and briskly walk away again, you just look out of place.

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1 hour ago, South_Stander said:

But I think the key to being stealthy is to act like you would anywhere else, at any other time, and ignore other people.

 

This strategy can be effective but has its risks as well.  I was caching in Rome and went to find one near the colosseum.  It was hidden in a large brick wall and I could see the hiding spot from more than 100' away.  There were a gazillion muggles around so I just walked up to it, grabbed the cache, signed the log, then put it back.   As I turned around a guy was walking toward me with what appeared to be a GPSr on his belt.   I smiled, nodded my head, and pointed back to the cache, figuring he was another geocacher going in for the find.   

 

About 200 feet down the road a police car pulled up and the guy that I had seen got out (holding the cache) with other policeman.  They proceeded to ask me about the cache...in Italian...and only seemed to understand a little english.  After a few minutes of poor communication they asked a nearby street vendor to come over and translate.   Eventually, they were able to connect to the site with a smartphone (not mine, I didn't have data access) where they could read about the game.  After what seemed like a long time they said I was free to go and they'd return the cache (apparently they did as it had some finds later in the day).

 

You can ignore other people, but in a touristy area some of them might be a plain clothed policeman.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

 

This strategy can be effective but has its risks as well. 

....

 

You can ignore other people, but in a touristy area some of them might be a plain clothed policeman.

 

That's a good point, and one worth noting. In a small market town near me a cacher was seen returning a cache under a flower pot by a nearby shopkeeper. The end result was a cordoned off town centre whilst a bomb disposal unit prepared to carry out a controlled explosion.

 

The story is here. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-14039229

 

I think I could have phrased what I wanted to say a little better. I meant to make the point of not taking a noticable interest in others. By watching people and looking over your shoulder constantly you can attract more attention to yourself.

 

 

Edited by South_Stander
Added news link.
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We cache with our phones.  We also use them to take photos, or appear to be taking photos, while looking for caches.  Carrying a clipboard works (also gives us a surface o which to sign logs!).  Hubby sometimes wears a safety reflector vest; looks official while lifting ("inspecting") lamp post skirts!

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11 hours ago, South_Stander said:

 

That's a good point, and one worth noting. In a small market town near me a cacher was seen returning a cache under a flower pot by a nearby shopkeeper. The end result was a cordoned off town centre whilst a bomb disposal unit prepared to carry out a controlled explosion.

 

The story is here. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-14039229

 

I think I could have phrased what I wanted to say a little better. I meant to make the point of not taking a noticable interest in others. By watching people and looking over your shoulder constantly you can attract more attention to yourself.

 

 

Yikes!!

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18 hours ago, South_Stander said:

 

That's a good point, and one worth noting. In a small market town near me a cacher was seen returning a cache under a flower pot by a nearby shopkeeper. The end result was a cordoned off town centre whilst a bomb disposal unit prepared to carry out a controlled explosion.

 

The story is here. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leeds-14039229

 

I think I could have phrased what I wanted to say a little better. I meant to make the point of not taking a noticable interest in others. By watching people and looking over your shoulder constantly you can attract more attention to yourself.

 

 

I understood your point.  Mine was that one shouldn't be oblivious to what's going on around you either.   Striking a balance, and especially treating each situation as needed works best.  Sometimes the best stealth strategy might be to walk right up to a muggle and tell them exactly what you're doing.  

 

BTW, I wasn't far from Leeds last week (I was in Sheffield).  

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