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nxnfairy

Police Called For Geocaching

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Yesterday, a friend and I were out geocaching. I had previously been to this geo location with no trouble before and was showing the neat cache to someone who hasn’t seen it. We only were there about 15 minutes when the police with lights showed up. We explained geocache because they were unfamiliar with it. They told us we were trespassing and to leave. 

To my knowledge I thought geocaches had to get property permission before being placed. Does this mean the person who placed the geocache did not get permission? I am wondering how do we as users of the Geocache app stay protected and not in trouble with the law. Has anyone else had trouble with police? 

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24 minutes ago, nxnfairy said:

Yesterday, a friend and I were out geocaching. I had previously been to this geo location with no trouble before and was showing the neat cache to someone who hasn’t seen it. We only were there about 15 minutes when the police with lights showed up. We explained geocache because they were unfamiliar with it. They told us we were trespassing and to leave. 

To my knowledge I thought geocaches had to get property permission before being placed. Does this mean the person who placed the geocache did not get permission? I am wondering how do we as users of the Geocache app stay protected and not in trouble with the law. Has anyone else had trouble with police? 

Many times! They are usually reasonable when we explain what we're doing. We get pulled over and/or questioned at geocaches more than anyone I know. I get into more trouble Waymarking than geocaching!

Edited by Max and 99

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On 9/13/2019 at 6:49 PM, Max and 99 said:

To my knowledge I thought geocaches had to get property permission before being placed

You can still get in trouble with a cache placed with permission. Just one example: a local cache was published, stating they had explicit permission. During the day several different individuals went looking, hoping for a FTF. Until the business owner yelled at one, said no one got his permission, and was rightfully concerned that someone would get hurt on his property. 

Turns out the coords were really bad. 

But we didn't know that when we confidently looked for the cache placed with permission!

 

Sometimes a cache is placed with permission, but not everyone who works there was told that.

Edited by Max and 99
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14 minutes ago, nxnfairy said:

Does this mean the person who placed the geocache did not get permission? 

Maybe. Maybe not. It's hard to say from thousands of miles away.

 

But I have seen caches placed without permission archived. And I have seen caches placed with permission archived because someone who lived nearby decided that geocachers were somehow trespassing by parking on public streets, walking on public sidewalks, and visiting public parks.

 

18 minutes ago, nxnfairy said:

Has anyone else had trouble with police? 

The closest I've gotten has been when park rangers stopped to ask if everything was okay. Apparently I look more like someone who might be in trouble than someone who might be causing trouble.

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I would not assume permission for any cache placement, but would judge for myself if it makes sense to hunt for a cache or not.  The Police do not keep a list of caches that have permission.   Neighbors or passing motorists probably have no clue what we're doing.  Personal responsibility is a concept for this game dating back to the beginning, to such an extent that the following is on every single Listing page:

 

Capture.JPG

Link for reference:

 

https://www.geocaching.com/about/disclaimer.aspx

Edited by Touchstone
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Alrighty! Thank you everyone for the help and input. It was a public boat access with 3 caches all right around. I assume maybe some boaters have got annoyed with all the geocachers coming in and out and probably decided to call on the next person, which happened to be me. I will keep in mind about the personal responsibility note! Thanks again! 

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We look at profiles sometimes on new caches, checking for past cache issues, finding that many don't understand what "permission" really entails, or simply don't ask.

 - So common sense is an option...   If non-cachers around, one can just turn around and head elsewhere.  :)

Like others, we've been stopped time-to-time...

Neighbors claiming others have been trespassing on their property, people who "claimed to be" a neighbor but were only busy-bodies, and often turned out to be the local kooks,  but mostly by park employees who weren't told by the park manager that a cache was placed.

 

But you said the police stated you were trespassing and leave, on a public boat access.   We've never seen that on any public boat launches we've been. 

We have a few boats (and a water cache) , and people are always standing around,  just watching boats leave.

Sounds (to me) like there's a lot more to the issue...

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14 hours ago, Max and 99 said:

Sometimes a cache is placed with permission, but not everyone who works there was told that.

 

Yep. Anytime you look for a cache where the public might go, you run the risk that someone that doesn't know about the game or that cache will see you and deem your behavior (or the container) suspicious.  

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8 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

But you said the police stated you were trespassing and leave, on a public boat access.   We've never seen that on any public boat launches we've been. 

We have a few boats (and a water cache) , and people are always standing around,  just watching boats leave.

Sounds (to me) like there's a lot more to the issue...

 

Right, Ive gone to a few boat access spots before with no problem. I parked in the paved parking lot and the cache was about 200 feet into the woods. The police said the woods is trespassing and we should see signs so we did check and did not see any. I think someone was just having a bad day cause as the police were talking to us a car drove out of the lot and waved at the police. 

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13 hours ago, NYPaddleCacher said:

Anytime you look for a cache where the public might go, you run the risk that someone that doesn't know about the game or that cache will see you and deem your behavior (or the container) suspicious.  

 

I sometimes hunt caches on public and private property where neighbors consider that land theirs. Or they're protective of it. The land has all the proper permission, paperwork is all in order, the land is fine. It's the neighbors that are the problem. I've been to places where the police show up because “this area is used as an access point for criminal activity” (burglars case the nearby houses from that forested area), and lately, it's gotten bad.  If there's any hint that this has come up before, where land access is contentious, I don't hunt that cache. Because I attract police like a magnet. “Everyone else had no problem” (with the exception of everyone who had a problem :ph34r:).

 

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I too was confronted by an angry neighbor who thought the land adjacent to the county park path was hers. She had tossed the cache in the trash and was a little agitated. I told her I'd pass on her complaints. Filed a NA and the CO was a little upset indicating public property. The reviewer and i assume GS would not permit relisting even close by the homeowners location. That particular area was not happy to see a park in their backyard. A few months later I was left with an angry note on my car a few miles away parked on the side of the road. Glad it was just a note. Some folks simply don't want to share.

 

 

One of my most favorite memories caching was with a sherif's deputy. Who stop to see if I needed assistance stopped on a rural road in the middle of nowhere. He was shocked to see the hundreds in the area thanks to the League of Idaho Cachers. 

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I've had several encounters with the police, but all ended very friendly because I wasn't doing anything illegal {*}. When I started caching 11 years ago, many policemen didn't yet know about geocaching, but nowadays it's different. This makes things much easier ;) .

 

Like others in this thread, I've also had trouble a few times with residents who thought that I'm not entitled to use public land or roadways as I see fit :( (e.g. after dark) . On two such occasions, the other guy actually threatened to call the police. I just said something like "Sure, go ahead. I've got time, and it will be fun to see how you explain the police why you're wasting their time by reporting someone walking through this public(!) park/road/whatever at night", and the police issue was off the table. Unfortunately, the cache itself is most likely short-lived anyway in such a situation.

 

{*} There were a few situations, where I did something illegal during geocaching, but in those cases the police (or other muggles) didn't notice :P

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My story is just the opposite. I was working on the Washington State Parks GeoTour. A lot of the parks are closed in the winter, but written permission was given for geocachers to enter closed parks to log the cache. I was doing an early spring run, and most of the parks I was going to were closed for at least another month. I had a copy of the letter with me, and was all prepared. I got to one park, hopped the gate at the entrance and walked in. The ranger just waved at me from a distance. Maybe the GPS in my hand tipped him off.

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It's definitely a hazard of the game and something I am acutely aware of and always have at the top of my mind when I'm out caching. Generally, if a cache location looks sketchy to me or I have any reservations about it at all I just move on, the risks aren't worth the smiley to me. If it's a newer cache, I'll generally let others go out and find it first and have a look at the logs to see how it went for them, if things seems fine I may go out and give it a try.

 

One thing I always say is that just because a cache can "technically" or "legally" be placed in a location doesn't necessarily mean it should be placed. One hide I've had a lot of experience with are people hiding caches in a public park but either right against a neighbouring properties fence or extremely close to their back yard. Yes it's in a public spot, but if I'm that home owner and I'm suddenly seeing people lurking around my backyard of course I'm going to be alarmed and uncomfortable. There's also a very good chance that cache is not going to last long, just because people think they're being stealthy doesn't mean people aren't noticing them.

 

Another type I've found that seems sketchy to me are caches hidden on road allowances in front of someones home, I actually dislike these even more than the park ones. Generally people feel like they "own" that piece of land even if they don't. And even putting that aside, again if I start noticing people lurking around out front of my house I'm not going to be too happy about it.

 

TLDR: Hiders need to be more conscious of where they are hiding caches. Finders need to be aware of their surroundings and be willing to just walk away from the smiley.

Edited by Canada_Eh
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46 minutes ago, Canada_Eh said:

Another type I've found that seems sketchy to me are caches hidden on road allowances in front of someones home, I actually dislike these even more than the park ones.

Generally people feel like they "own" that piece of land even if they don't...

 

I was with you until here ^ ...   :)

Here, roadside "right of way" in front of our property in most cases does belong to us.  We pay the taxes up to that road edge.

That right of way is to allow utilities to do their work, not for people to trespass, and we have to maintain it.  

It's one of our biggest issues here, people who think that just because the property's alongside the road, it's "public property".

 - And why we realize that there's quite a few that can't really say they had permission.    ;)

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11 minutes ago, cerberus1 said:

 

I was with you until here ^ ...   :)

Here, roadside "right of way" in front of our property in most cases does belong to us.  We pay the taxes up to that road edge.

That right of way is to allow utilities to do their work, not for people to trespass, and we have to maintain it.  

It's one of our biggest issues here, people who think that just because the property's alongside the road, it's "public property".

 - And why we realize that there's quite a few that can't really say they had permission.    ;)

Thank you very much for the clarification on that. I still avoided them like the plague regardless but this is good to know.

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On 9/13/2019 at 7:55 PM, Max and 99 said:

 

Sometimes a cache is placed with permission, but not everyone who works there was told that.

 

Happened to me.  Placed a cache near an office building that had a cool pond with a bridge, with permission from building management.  I then kept getting logs talking about how security was telling folks they needed to leave.  I just ended up moving it to the sidewalk just off the property.  Not worth the trouble getting everyone on board.  Still had permission, but security wasn't concerned anymore.

Edited by J Grouchy

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I suppose it is country specific. Here in the UK trespassing is a civil offence and so the police can't do much more that ask you to move. It's never been a problem, although I suppose you could always get the odd officious officer wanting to do a bit of willy waving.

 

That said, for historical reasons most highways here are the property of the adjacent landowner, even major roads, and so the normal GC rules of getting landowner permission are almost impossible. As such, if someone says they own the land, even if it appears to be public, they're probably right. They're just required to allow the public to use the land as a highway.

 

However, as I normally have a four year old in tow proudly telling all the muggles what we are doing the possibility of breaking and entering has, thankfully, never come up. I'm sure at some stage it will though, must look bloody strange crawling through verges and peering into trees!

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1 hour ago, daddybeth said:

I suppose it is country specific. Here in the UK trespassing is a civil offence and so the police can't do much more that ask you to move. It's never been a problem, although I suppose you could always get the odd officious officer wanting to do a bit of willy waving.

 

That said, for historical reasons most highways here are the property of the adjacent landowner, even major roads, and so the normal GC rules of getting landowner permission are almost impossible. As such, if someone says they own the land, even if it appears to be public, they're probably right. They're just required to allow the public to use the land as a highway.

 

However, as I normally have a four year old in tow proudly telling all the muggles what we are doing the possibility of breaking and entering has, thankfully, never come up. I'm sure at some stage it will though, must look bloody strange crawling through verges and peering into trees!

I'm glad I live where I live and don't have to worry about that sort of thing. The roads here are either state or federal, including the footpath/sidewalk up to your property boundary. Local government requires, in suburbia, that you maintain (mow grass) the area between your boundary and the road but it's rarely enforced as residents do it out of pride or civic duty.

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A few years back the police was called on me too. But not for tresspassing. A worried citizan called the cops because he saw me standing in the dark, on a bridge, with a rope.... :ph34r:

Thye thought I was suicidal and approached me verry carefully. They relaxed real quick when they discovered I´m wearing a harness and a orange helmet. So we had a little conversation about what I was doing there and they were satisfied about me just practice abseiling. After a idetification check the almost apologized for the disturbance  :) nice Cops.

 

Edited by DerDiedler
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On of my friends during adventure lab experience was asked by the police what is she doing. She sad that she is geocaching.

Policeman nodded and said: "Yes, I know. Its a play, where something is put in and something is taken out". ;)

 

All credits to Wiesia.K ;)

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12 hours ago, daddybeth said:

....

However, as I normally have a four year old in tow proudly telling all the muggles what we are doing the possibility of breaking and entering has, thankfully, never come up. I'm sure at some stage it will though, must look bloody strange crawling through verges and peering into trees!

 

I always have a child or two with me, we're never approached by police or security..... kids are a bit of a backstage pass at times.... :)

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8 hours ago, lee737 said:

 

I always have a child or two with me, we're never approached by police or security..... kids are a bit of a backstage pass at times.... :)

True :) as well as universal toilet access. 

 

 When placing caches I wore a hi viz vest and boots - no challenge. Went to check on one today without and immediately challenged by a muggle. Lesson learnt... cache placement = dress like a builder. 

 

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In rural Alberta, Canada, in farming county I found a Sheriff car pulled up behind me on a remote gravel road. 

He asked what I was doing. He understood what geocaching was. 

He told me there had been a rash of thefts in the area. But he told me to have a nice day and hoped I found the cache. 


Which brings me to another issue: Why, in remote areas, witih lots of places to place a cache along side a roadway with no prying eyes or houses nearby, do people place caches next to, or in sight of, farmhouses or acreages? "Good day, I am just pulling up in front of your house to find a cache by this fencepost here as it's the only cache in miles and there are 20 miles of empty road they could place it on".  I am starting to skip those ones now....

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2 hours ago, Zant264 said:

Which brings me to another issue: Why, in remote areas, witih lots of places to place a cache along side a roadway with no prying eyes or houses nearby, do people place caches next to, or in sight of, farmhouses or acreages? "Good day, I am just pulling up in front of your house to find a cache by this fencepost here as it's the only cache in miles and there are 20 miles of empty road they could place it on".  I am starting to skip those ones now....

 

An extra from your thread started today on the same subject...

First, I guess we're assuming that CO has asked for permission.     :)

If I'm the property owner, or allowed permission to a CO in a rural area, I'd prefer that folks are in my view, and not "hidden" two miles down the road, doing who-knows-what on my property.

People "up to no good", because the CO didn't ask for permission seems to be a big reason we hear of property owners meeting folks with shotguns in rural areas.

 

Edited by cerberus1
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On 9/17/2019 at 1:38 PM, daddybeth said:

True :) as well as universal toilet access. 

 

 When placing caches I wore a hi viz vest and boots - no challenge. Went to check on one today without and immediately challenged by a muggle. Lesson learnt... cache placement = dress like a builder. 

 

We went all  out, and if the gc.com photos wouldn't keep disappearing and reappearing regularly, you'd see most of it in the Design section of the forums here in a thread called "Vehicle Art".

 

Rather than dealing with this sort of thing on a regular basis, we have taken this approach >>  http://www.mediafire.com/view/ibw21h83k8qm8a7/StealthOverrated2.jpg#

post-1432531-086505500%201439498287_thum

 

The vehicle has changed, but the signs and work lights on the top have been transferred, and we wear the shirts, hats and jackets for US Survey every time we go out caching. Stealth is vastly overrated.  Much easier to just look like you belong where you are, doing something useful. 

 

This avoids muggles calling the police or even agitating.  Our few spontaneous encounters with the police are always amicable since most know the game, and those that don't are interested in hearing about it.

 

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I only had one person confront me , so far. The cache is in a rural area, but at  a cul-de-sac in a developing community. I followed a car down a few roads until arrived at the caul-de-sac, the car pulled into a nearby driveway. I looked at the iPhone for directions etc., then walked along the road by a tree line looking for where it showed the closest distance. About the time I got near there cache the driver came down the driveway and walked up there road some, then came over and asked if I was okay. I told him what I was doing and he knew what coaching is and was surprised one was there. We r talked a bit, then since I saw the cache I told him that had to be it, I figured the gadget and signed the log. He said he would look for others to find the cache. 

 

I am not sure, but since the CO said in the description the cache was on his property, or could see it from his property, that may have been the CO, but don't think so.

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Everybody gets stopped by the police eventually.  I think I've gotten stopped three times in about 3000 finds.  

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58 minutes ago, Alkhalikoi said:

Everybody gets stopped by the police eventually.  I think I've gotten stopped three times in about 3000 finds.  

None so far for me 3000+ finds.

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2k finds, 

Police - 3 times

County Sheriff - 5 times

State Police - 1 time

Federal Game Warden - 1 time

 

Most of these we're at night, or maybe I look overly suspicious.

 

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No police or security approaches, never even an angry local..... 3400 finds. I'm always with 1-2 young kids, lends us an air of safety..... We did get chased off a roadside in NZ last week, we had pulled up for a cache not realising we were in the middle of a roadworks zone with controlled traffic.... it turns out we were 3-4m from the cache horizontally, but 20m away vertically in any case....

 

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1700+ finds, and I haven't kept track of police/law enforcement/security encounters but there have been a few.  Late night out at the end of a county road in a marshland, wondering if we were OK (yes, we're fine, and yes, we found it and logged that find!).  Security questioning my activity in the back corner of a parking lot (I still haven't found this one, others have, and some have been run off by security like me).  Going after an FTF, and police showing up wondering what we are up to (a group of four of us) and more to warn us of a suspicious transient seen in the area recently.  

 

Most are concern for our welfare - they see a vehicle pulled off to the side of the road, and one or more people obviously looking for something...so they stop to ask if we need any help!  If they give us a hard time, we're gone.  We'll look another day, or not - it's not worth a run in with the law for a smilie.

 

As far as hides on private property, if it looks at all dicey or uncomfortable, we skip it, unless the cache description says the resident is aware (and may be watching your efforts and laughing!!) or makes it clear permission is given.  Even then, ownership changes, current residents or business owners may NOT be aware.

Edited by CAVinoGal
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My only L.E. stop was when the Team Cap'n and I were exploring a village garden just at dusk, and about to give up!

The garden was in a small triangle between three intersecting streets.

Town cop slowed down, gave us the once-over, turn right at the corner, more s-l-o-w-l-y approached corner two, turned right and cruised to a stop at the point closest to us. Right-side window rolled down. He didn't move.

I said "Keep looking" to the Cap'n and slowly approached the curb.

The cop, still in his mirrored shades (at dusk!) stared at me for a few seconds, then asked...

"Find it?"

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A policeman was sitting in his patrol car on a UK motorway bridge. As he was looking left and right at the traffic flowing below, I thought he wouldn't see me retrieving a magnetic cache from a barrier some distance behind his car. Wrong! 

 

He came over while I was doing the log and ask if I was OK. I said that I was looking for a 'quiz clue' and showed him the container. He said "I always get the jitters when somebody is hanging around on a motorway bridge. Often they need medical help, but occasionally they're just some sort of nutter like you! ". He then wandered back to his car with a smug smile on his face.

 

He had been watching me on his rear-view camera ! 

 

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In 6 years I've been questioned by police at least 5 times, 1 security guard, and 1 irate business owner.

 

The best was the security guard.  He blocked in my car and I had to stand there while we waited for the police that he called.  A few minutes later the police arrived, and the first words out of his mouth were... "did you find it?"  I can remember the look on the security guard's face went from smug to shocked.  Instant vindication.

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Someone called the cops on me while I was climbing a tree to a cache, they stood on the ground and questioned me while I was sitting on a branch about 20 feet up:

9c10bf41-4ff1-41ff-be6c-cfd007394451.jpg
 

They asked what I was doing and I just pointed up the tree and said "you see that box up there?" and the WPC shouted "You're Geocaching! Some of the lads at the station do it" after that they were fine and stayed around to make sure I made it down safely and then chatted about the tree climbing gear.

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I've been stopped on occasion by the police who typically ask, "What are you doing?" and then relax when I say "geocaching".  Most police who are aware of the activity and just wave you on.  Those who don't know of it get it right away when I show then my track on the GPS or the webpage.  It's a caching rite of passage....

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My iffiest police stop was supposed to be a quick park and grab. At night in winter, pulled into a small parking spot next to a fenced hydro power block, and the cache was just in a bush at the side of the road. I had a rental, with a bunch of geocaching gear in it. I'd left the car unlocked and dove into the bush. After a few minutes of failed searching, I noticed a light dodging around the car, and a red and blue light on the other side.

 

Now, I'm hidden, in the dark, in a bush, just outside city limits, next to an unlocked vehicle with a LEO shining his flashlight into the car looking around. How does one handle this situation safely? haha

 

I made rustling noises as I exited, being sure not to look like I'm trying to be covert, and as soon as I was noticed I was practically blinded by a spotlight. When you can't see anything it's really hard to figure out what to do or where to go. I had my hands in the open, gps in the pocket. Now, we're fairly relaxed around here, but I wasn't thinking so as I greeted and responded to questions, I said I was geocaching and while I continued to walk up I reached into my pocket for the gps.  THANK GOODNESS the cop didn't assume the worst - hindsight is 20/20 and that was probably a very stupid move :) (I realized that moments after doing it, heh)

Eventually we chatted a bit, he commented about the stuff in the car (ladder, waders, general TOTTs, etc) and mentioned there'd been problems with vagrants in the area recently.  I went back, found the cache, and headed home with a great story :)

 

This is another excellent reason it's great to have decals or stickers referencing geocaching on your vehicle!  Immediate potential explanation and eased concern if no one is there to explain anything. (at least when it comes to LEOs who may/should be familiar with geocaching)

 

A friend also has a sheet of paper she puts on her dash explaining her reason for parking at any location, and if there's an issue (like a LEO is curious) how to contact her quickly.  (the contact bit may or may not be safe, for privacy/safety reasons, but that certainly helps to reduce misconceptions!)

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On 11/7/2019 at 2:11 PM, thebruce0 said:

This is another excellent reason it's great to have decals or stickers referencing geocaching on your vehicle!

 

How does this work for you? <g>  We've updated the vehicle and vastly improved the rooftop lighting, but the signs stay the same.

 

Cachemobile.thumb.jpg.19ebebd0f27721707e58486c9c130f9e.jpg

 

1931487074_Sign9.thumb.png.c51e7f41886e49b1ec722937e434a937.png

 

IMG_0334B.thumb.jpg.5bbfdcefcbf9caf3153a60b68ab71cd6.jpg

 

Edited by ecanderson
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On 11/7/2019 at 3:11 PM, thebruce0 said:

...

A friend also has a sheet of paper she puts on her dash explaining her reason for parking at any location, and if there's an issue (like a LEO is curious) how to contact her quickly.  (the contact bit may or may not be safe, for privacy/safety reasons, but that certainly helps to reduce misconceptions!)

Years ago I downloaded a geocaching "mirror" tag that vaguely resembles a handicap parking tag to hang on your rear view mirror. I added a sticker with my account name and mobile number. On those rare occasions where I park somewhere that might be a little "sketchy" like along a roadside, I'll hang it from the mirror. My thought is that if there is a problem or question while I'm away from the car, an officer or land owner could call me rather than calling a tow truck. I'm pretty conscientious about where I park so I've never had that problem but I'd rather be safe than sorry. 

CarTag.jpg

Edited by JohnCNA
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On ‎11‎/‎9‎/‎2019 at 12:28 AM, ecanderson said:

How does this work for you? <g>  We've updated the vehicle and vastly improved the rooftop lighting, but the signs stay the same.

 

Never mind the police.  This seems to brush up against Colorado Professional Land Surveyor rules and regulations.

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On 9/17/2019 at 12:05 AM, daddybeth said:

 

That said, for historical reasons most highways here are the property of the adjacent landowner, even major roads, and so the normal GC rules of getting landowner permission are almost impossible. As such, if someone says they own the land, even if it appears to be public, they're probably right. They're just required to allow the public to use the land as a highway.

 

 

The majority of UK roads are so old there is no owner as such , and the adjacent landowner has no rights or responsibility over them, as shown by the fact that repairs and maintenance of roads, verges and other vegetation up to housholders and landowners  property lines are all down to either the local council or the highways authority .Newer roads (that is, ones less than about a hundred years old) are actually crown property.

Here's a lot of useful information.on the subject.

 

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On 11/10/2019 at 6:37 AM, Joe_L said:

 

Never mind the police.  This seems to brush up against Colorado Professional Land Surveyor rules and regulations.

Not in the slightest -- it's not like we're taking paying survey jobs <g>.   Lemme see here, 13,000+ finds at a dime a piece...

 

The name is not used by any surveying company, the logo is a complete mash-up used by no one else (and yes, it is very much intended to leave exactly the impression that it does, however in accurate that might be), the new and improved light bar is 100% legal, the vehicle is more appropriate now, and ever since we adopted this mode of operation in July 2011, we've either been ignored or deferred to -- and that's thousands of finds ago.  I think we'll be sticking with it.

 

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I do want to add that I bought the Geocaching Trail Cards that explains what Geocaching is.  

 

I keep a few in my wallet.  One of the reasons is that I was born with a speech impediment and if I am ever stopped by the police, I can give them a card to help me explain to them what I am doing. 

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On 9/14/2019 at 1:55 AM, Max and 99 said:

Turns out the coords were really bad.

 

Great example of why we need pretty good margins as well as good coordinates for caches. We can't place it 10 meters from someone's garden and hope that nobody distubs the people living there. They need to know why people are searching in their bushes. Consider where someone with bad precision may go.

 

I found one cache, with low ratings, only some 5 meters from a steep cliff. Super dangerous to search for at night, especially since the rating was so low and no other warnings!

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I came off the interstate and pulled off to the side of the road to get my bearings. I had a cop pull behind me. He came up to the window of my car and told me not to get out. I explained what I was doing, showed him the app, explained the game. He was very leery. He asked me if I could step out of the car and show him what I was looking for. We walked to the cache. I was off at first (thought it was in a tree). When I told him I was wrong and that we had to go back towards the guardrail (showed him the app), he acted almost angry and told me to 'slow down'.  (I was slightly afraid of him pulling a gun-ha!) funny thing was I was in my work clothes, so I should have looked slightly respectable. I had a moment of thinking that if the cache wasn't there, he might take me to jail or something. Luckily, it was there.

 

When I found the cache, a swag item said, "New Orleans" on it, He picked it up and asked, "Did this come from New Orleans?". I said, "I guess" or "I think" or something like that. He looked at me suspiciously and said, "You don't know?". He spent about 2-3 minutes looking through all the swag and finally turned me loose. Kept his eye on me all the way back to his car. ha!

 

The whole thing was really creepy!  When he drove away, I saw the name of the town. He was a small town cop, seemed very insecure, so probably not much experience and leery of "strangers" off the interstate. I definitely don't want to relive something like that. I was glad we were in a public place, as he seemed a little off.

 

In your case, I might do a little digging to see if that was public property in the woods. Not that I would confront the police, but I would want to know for myself if it was a legit thing or not. If it is private property, you might send a private note to the cache owner to address. Try not to let it get you down and happy caching in the future.

 

 

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We get so used to our local environment that we forget to be wary of etiquette and common practices when in a foreign area. I had a similar encounter (though not LEO related, could have been potentially) while in Iceland, with a cab driver. It was surreal and immediately made the trip real, dropping me into "I'm not in Kansas anymore" mode. :)

 

Definitely need to respect law enforcement when you're in a new area, there are so many unknown factors that could drop you from 'everyone knows I'm innocent' into the classification of 'potential terrorist' and through no direct fault of your own.

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A couple weeks ago, I wanted to finish logging the last three "counties" I needed in the German state of Rheinland-Pfalz, just on the other side of the Rhein.  I noticed I could also finally get to Remagen, which is the first bridge the Allies took to finally cross the Rhein and get into the German heartland at the close of World War II.  Today the remaining bridge towers are part of a peace museum, so I really wanted to go.  I saw some folks hanging up signs as I drove into town, but I didn't know what it was connected to.  I took my time caching at the bridge, and then eventually walked back to my car.

 

There was a cache right next to my parking spot, on the side of the road, so I went for it.  I noticed there were a lot of walkers out, but I didn't connect it to anything, I figured maybe there was an event nearby. 

 

Just after I replaced the cache, I was politely approached by two plainclothes Polizei who asked me what I had hidden.  I explained I was geocaching - they knew what it was right away - and I showed them the hide.  They examined it, and then explained why they had approached.

 

Turns out I picked the one day of the year not to go geocaching in Remagen - a neo-Nazi group organizes an annual march through Remagen, and naturally it was the day I picked to go.  There was also a much larger counter protest scheduled. And apparently the Polizei were worried I had perhaps planted a booby trap.

 

I have a lot of respect for them playing it cool and just asking what I was doing.  Given the circumstances, they could have put me on the ground, but they were calm and professional, and for that I am very, very thankful.

 

On the way out of town, I saw that in the half hour since I showed up, there were literally hundreds of police assembled in town.  Buses.  Sharpshooters.  All prepared for a full scale riot, and all on the lookout for things out of the ordinary, like guys placing little containers in sign posts.

 

Thankfully what could have ended very, very badly for me, was a polite encounter.

 

The car and t-shirt and hat above are interesting ideas, but I suspect that would have made the difference between me having a short conversation with two Polize who know about geocaching, and me spending the day in custody explaining the subterfuge.  Not a risk I'm going to take - honesty really can be the best policy.

Edited by hzoi
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