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Bomb Squad Called To Diffuse A Cache


Max99nTPA
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Got this this morning in my news alerts :

 

Gloucester County Times

 

Box game brings out bomb squad

 

Saturday, March 27, 2004

 

By Jim Six

jimsix@sjnewsco.com

 

GREENWICH TWP. -- The plywood box, maybe a foot square with a hinged lid, was jammed into a tree trunk, and the green trip wire that came out of the device was stretched to a tree maybe 20 feet away.

 

It wasn't a bomb, though. It turned out to be part of a game called geocaching.

   

The suspicious-looking contraption immediately alerted the man walking his dog near Greenwich Lake Park, behind the park's garage, at about 9 p.m. Thursday, so he called police.

 

The police, having heard an explosion that occurred in Woolwich Township several hours earlier and knowing that investigation was still going on, asked for help from the Camden County Sheriff's Department bomb squad and agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol who were still in the area.

 

Technicians determined the device was not a bomb. The trip wire, if pulled, would trigger a loud electronic alarm stuck inside the small box.

 

Also in the box was a notebook serving as a log book indicating that the device was put together and hidden -- at least for the first time -- by someone calling himself Lavarock.

 

Geocaching involves hiding a container someplace where it can be found and posting the global positioning satellite coordinates to its location on the Internet.

 

Inside the box found here was a Pokemon doll, a Pokemon book, a small plastic action figure, a couple of cheap watches, and a few other items, said Detective Sgt. Joseph Giordano Jr.

 

At one end of the trip wire and inside the box lid was a hand-drawn symbol, said Giordano.

 

"Whoever locates it opens it, leaves something in it, signs the logbook, and puts it in some other place," he explained.

 

"Our concern is the time consumed. The four fire trucks, the bomb squad, ATF and police were tied up with this for approximately three hours," said Giordano. He said he was also concerned that "in this day and age, people want to play these 'Star Trek' games."

 

The last entry in the logbook was dated March 21 and signed by someone who wrote he was from Louisville, Ky.

 

A search of the Internet turned up a Web site on "Geocaching" which features forum posts made by Lavarock, whose profile identified him as a man named Rob from Woodbury. An e-mail sent to Lavarock asking for comment about the box found Thursday night did not get a reply by press time.

 

Camden County Sheriff Michael McLaughlin said his Technical Services Unit has seen something similar in Camden County and Burlington County in recent years.

 

According to the Web site, geocaching usually involves some kind of water-tight plastic container, but no mention is made of trip wires or alarm devices.

 

Edited by Max99nTPA
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Looks like this cache. If you look at the photos, you see a green wire sticking out of the cache. I'm guessing that's the "extra clue". <_<:lol::o:rolleyes:

 

He said he was also concerned that "in this day and age, people want to play these 'Star Trek' games."

 

What a bozo. What are we supposed to do in "this day and age"? Lock ourselves in our homes? Like someone is really going to stick a bomb in a remote section of a park where people rarely venture. Give me a break!

Edited by briansnat
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Oh, please! How is this stupid? He's just pushing the envelop, playing with ideas.

 

Personally, I don't get the idea with the trip wire as it kind of defeats the purpose of hiding it to begin with. But, hey, why not? There have been bomb squads called for less suspicious looking items. Instead of b!tching about wasted manpower, they should look at it as a training exercise. What ever happened to the "rescue the cat" that firefighters used to do?

 

This hyper paranoia really bugs me.

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What ever happened to the "rescue the cat" that firefighters used to do?

Due to their nature, cats have proven to be unreliable as terrorist devices. :rolleyes:

 

It is interesting to note that none of the individuals who logged the cache expressed any real concern. Is that because they saw no problem and considered the placement to be rather innocuous (which it may well have been), or are we as a geocaching community irresponsible rebels, as suggested by the news item?

 

In defense of the cache owner, at least his cache was not of the variety designed to resemble a pipebomb. I suppose it will be only a matter of time before any "trick" that has the potential of alarming non-geocachers will be required to be divulged to the cache reviewer during the approval process. That list would necessarily include, oh, just about everything!

Edited by Bassoon Pilot
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I have to wonder.. if there had been a Geocaching sticker on the outside of the container, would this have happened?

As I understand, the cache was labeled, and even the trip wire was labeled.

I guess if you did happen to plant a bomb, labeling it as not a bomb will keep it from being detected.

The cache was investgated as suspicious that's all, not blown up.

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Got this this morning in my news alerts :

 

Gloucester County Times

 

He said he was also concerned that "in this day and age, people want to play these 'Star Trek' games."

 

Wow, I play a "Star Trek" game. That's good because I hate Star Trek. Hmmm - I guess it's me, but why would anyone plant a cache looking like bomb?? And for the person who reported it, why would someone put a bomb in a tree??? Aiye aiye aiye, another JOE GOODCITIZEN strikes again.

 

:rolleyes:

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Am I the only person who puts their REAL name on the OUTSIDE of the cache when they place it?

While we don't put our real name on the box, we've put our phone number on them plenty of times. We use our handles because it's more recognizable. If I get a phone call asking for "CR" I know it's about geocaching right off the bat.

 

The problem we've had with putting our phone number on a cache is people calling for help on some other cache and I don't really consider that a problem.

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It seems that the feed back from cache hunters was positive. Everyone liked the final clue. I don't know about you, but I am always trying to find something different to do with my caches. Don't let this scare away creativity. Sounds like a great training exercise for the man.

 

Nuwati

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I'm thinking the local bomb squads should have as part of their their training some geocaching. They could then cross check coordinates find a cache, call or contact either the local cacher, the local organization and get a quick description of. "yeah that cache is a wooden box stuffed in a tree trunk with a trip wire wired to a sound making device".

 

That would shave a couple of hours off everyones wasted time. However I would aslo suggest that the time is not really wasted. We are supposed to report suspicouse items, they are supposed to invesigate. What is wasted is that after 3 years of this game they haven't yet compaired notes well enough to check the geocaching angle. We all know this is a risk factor for our game. They should know geocaches are an items that can get called in.

Edited by Renegade Knight
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"Our concern is the time consumed. The four fire trucks, the bomb squad, ATF and police were tied up with this for approximately three hours," said Giordano. He said he was also concerned that "in this day and age, people want to play these 'Star Trek' games."

 

I think it is pretty clear this guy embarassed himself and is now trying to shift some responsibility and focus onto Geocaching.

 

You KNOW the guys from the ATF and Bomb Squad are laughing their a%%es off. Excuse me, did you just call the ATF over a wooden box with McToys in it? Wonder if it is an election year? I'd be willing to bet he has a new snappy nickname, something like Trippy. Hmm, Trippy Giordano. Has a nice ring to it don't you think?

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I seriously doubt that the sergeant is the slightest bit embarrassed about doing what he?s supposed to do. The citizen calling in the suspicious box is not qualified to determine whether a box is a bomb, and neither is anyone on the other end of the phone. You have to send out, get this, The Bomb Squad, who are trained to asses suspicious objects. Moronic comments about ?Star-Trek games? aside, he was just doing his job.

 

Seems strange that someone with over four hundred finds and 38 hides would have such a lapse of judgement about cache placement. I always thought that any cache should be hidden in a way to make an accidental discovery by a casual passerby unlikely. This one seems to have been set to almost guarantee an accidental discovery and to look very suspicious besides. The only saving grace of this one is that the container itself was not metallic.

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The already established guidelines for marking a cache container are enough. This type of misunderstanding will never be completely eliminated, and I don't just mean with geocaching. I have a friend (and yes, it is my direct friend, not a friend of a friend) who went on a choir tour in Brittain a couple of years ago. He is a shopping fiend and he bought a new pair of shoes while he was there. (I know, you've got centuries of incredible history all around you and you go shopping for shoes? <_< it was some specific brand he liked. . . ummm, oh yeah, anyway)

 

He and some cohorts stopped at a restaurant and he left his shoes, in the shoebox, when they left. A couple hours later, he realized they were missing. He backtracked hoping to find them and. . . there was a bomb squad at the restaurant trying to determine the best way to approach and dispose of his shoes!! :rolleyes: This was back when the IRA was still blowing stuff up.

 

The short of it was he got his shoes back and there were some amused and some not-so-amused officials and restaurant staff.

 

The point is that this type of misunderstanding can, and will, happen in spite of the best intentions. It could become a common problem with geocaching to the point that it impacts the sport, but frankly, with a handful of issues like this out of around 200,000 caches hidden, I think it falls in the category of life events that you shrug off. How many incidents are there like this anyway? I only know of two--this one and the Disneyland one.

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:lol: It does make me want to rethink my plans for the "White House Front Lawn" cache. Hmmm, maybe I should make it a micro instead of the briefcase with the digital timer on it. . . :rolleyes:

 

Umm, to any cachers who are also members of the secret service, FBI, CIA or any other organization noted for being devoid of a sense of humor, just kidding. <_<

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He said he was also concerned that "in this day and age, people want to play these 'Star Trek' games."

 

What a bozo. What are we supposed to do in "this day and age"? Lock ourselves in our homes? Like someone is really going to stick a bomb in a remote section of a park where people rarely venture. Give me a break!

Probably said in the heat of frustration which we can all be said to have done at least once or twice. I'll bet he'll reconsider that comment in retrospect.

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And for the person who reported it, why would someone put a bomb in a tree??? Aiye aiye aiye, another JOE GOODCITIZEN strikes again.

 

Exactly! Why plant a bomb in a tree in the middle of nowhere??? (nowhere important strategically I mean)

 

And as for the time wasted by the ATF and Bomb Squad, I am sure there a few extra uneaten doughnuts left in the box at the station house! Perhaps they would have been happier if it was a real bomb and actually hurt some people?? Would that make it more justified?

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Ok, there are only a handful out of several thousand that end up being confused for bombs. Here's the concern, though... I doubt the law enforcement will see it as a meaningless percentage.

 

I think of the handful of school shootings that have impacted our schools nationwide. They've resulted in people getting suspended for uttering "I'll kill you," and kids getting suspended for bringing pencil sharpeners to school (albeit blade-like ones that are popular in some Asian countries).

 

There are the handful of boxcutters snuck onto planes by terrorists that have resulted in knitting needles being taken from grannies.

 

There are the handful of mysterious packages with malicious intent (unabomber, anthrax in the mail, olympic park bomb) that freak people out about any mysterious package, box or ammo can.

 

And there are the handful of geocaches resulting in bomb-squad mobs that will encourage parks to develop no-caching rules.

 

Unfortunately, this is the type of case where the few impact the many.

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*scratches head*

 

A wire stretched from one tree to another? Oh, s***! Call the bomb squad... I know someone who has a clothes line, too!

 

On one hand, I understand that we have to be careful.. And what if it was a bomb and noone paid a bit of attention to it?

 

On the same token... perhaps we need to have our next letter writing campaign be to bomb squads explaining different types of geocaching containers? That way, at least if there's a threat of them being called in, the normal caches won't be "defused"...

 

Cause, you know, if they launch an all out war and start blowing up caches, hundreds of McToys could die every year in sensless, violent acts...

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Exactly! Why plant a bomb in a tree in the middle of nowhere??? (nowhere important strategically I mean)

The reason for planting a bomb in the middle of nowhere is to test the design to see if it works prior to placing it in it's intended location. The IRA were well known for testing IED's in secluded areas of Southern Ireland.

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Due to their nature, cats have proven to be unreliable as terrorist devices.

 

I beg to differ!! :lol:<_<:rolleyes:

 

The suspicious-looking contraption immediately alerted the man walking his dog near Greenwich Lake Park, behind the park's garage, at about 9 p.m. Thursday, so he called police.

 

It obviously wasn't in the middle of nowhere, it appears to have been behind a garage of some sort. That would make me a bit suspicious as a muggle to have seen this in close proximity to a building. Albeit, storage garages in parks aren't necessarily prime terrorist targets, there has been a rash of pipe bombs in our area left next to outbuildings and sheds near homes and parks.

 

I don't think he over-reacted in this case....now, had it actually been out in the middle of nowhere, perhaps......

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In my high school our Senior class presiden called in a bomb threat because he wasnt' ready for his english exam. He later went on to be a local newscaster. The gist is whos to say that troublemakers can't and wont' call in a cache for kicks?

 

You can't stop this from happening. Only start working on the best means to deal with it.

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It's not a stupid cache at all. Anything that is more creative than a box in a bush is welcome in my opinion. It's fun to be surprised, or stumped by a cache, because of it's creativity.

 

I definitely think it would be a great idea to at least check the coords on the GC.com website. I suppose they could also check with Navicache, although it probably wont show anything around them for 50 miles or so. :rolleyes:

 

We could even put our phone numbers in a secure place on the GC website, so if anything ever came up, our caches could be directly placed to us, if they needed to contact us.

 

It's a funny thought, to think that the whole bomb squad is afraid of this box, and they are covered in their foam suits, creeping up on it with robots and what not, when a little kid with a bright yellow Geko will saunter up to it with glee, and scream I found it! While tearing it open for the goodies inside. These could all be a VERY solvable situations for the officials, if they would take the time to realize what goes on.

 

P.S.: I hate Star Trek also.

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he future of this game is virtuals. I don't know why TPTB seem out of step with this.

 

Not a sport I'd be interested in. That would make it simply a www. waypoint.org with logs . <_<

I totally agree. Virts aren't my bag of tea, but I do them when I'm in the area. If that's all I had to choose from, I'd sell my GPSr and die...... :rolleyes:

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Well that is all we need some one planting a stupid cache and we all get a black eye.

The future of this game is virtuals. I don't know why TPTB seem out of step with this.

I defend a cache owenrs right to place virtuals but to think of a world with only virtuals? Gack! I'd rather drop the entire catagory than have that happen!

I haven't really thought this through but maybe virtuals should be split out from physical caches sort of like benchmarks are. And to log a virtual, you post a picture of the gps in front of the "target". Also, re physical caches, maybe we should start recommending clear plastic cache boxes rather than metal or camo-painted ones so that any suspicious passerby (or police, ranger, etc) can see what's in it without having to open it.

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Not a sport I'd be interested in. That would make it simply a  www. waypoint.org with logs .  :rolleyes:

I defend a cache owenrs right to place virtuals but to think of a world with only virtuals?  Gack!  I'd rather drop the entire catagory than have that happen!

 

I didn't voice support for this - just stating the inevitable.

 

If I had land and someone asked me to put a cache on it, I would be pretty reluctant. If we lived in a reasonable society, I would have no problem with it. But thanks to the decades of lawyers infiltrating politics (how many politicians do you know that aren't lawyers) creating the environment for a sue happy society (no tort reform seems likely with the trial lawyers having so much power.) one has to cut out many of the joys in life we once took for granted. So, if someone goes on your land and breaks a leg, they can sue you.

 

Add in that public land authorities will wise up (we have skated by because they don't pay much mind to it) and stop allowing it and what have you got? Virtuals.

 

Like I said, don't get me wrong. I like the quaint notion of being able to place a physical cache somewhere.

Edited by SamLowrey
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Got this this morning in my news alerts :

 

Gloucester County Times

 

Box game brings out bomb squad

 

Saturday, March 27, 2004

 

By Jim Six

jimsix@sjnewsco.com

 

GREENWICH TWP. -- The plywood box, maybe a foot square with a hinged lid, was jammed into a tree trunk, and the green trip wire that came out of the device was stretched to a tree maybe 20 feet away.

 

It wasn't a bomb, though. It turned out to be part of a game called geocaching.

   

The suspicious-looking contraption immediately alerted the man walking his dog near Greenwich Lake Park, behind the park's garage, at about 9 p.m. Thursday, so he called police.

 

The police, having heard an explosion that occurred in Woolwich Township several hours earlier and knowing that investigation was still going on, asked for help from the Camden County Sheriff's Department bomb squad and agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol who were still in the area.

 

Technicians determined the device was not a bomb. The trip wire, if pulled, would trigger a loud electronic alarm stuck inside the small box.

 

Also in the box was a notebook serving as a log book indicating that the device was put together and hidden -- at least for the first time -- by someone calling himself Lavarock.

 

Geocaching involves hiding a container someplace where it can be found and posting the global positioning satellite coordinates to its location on the Internet.

 

Inside the box found here was a Pokemon doll, a Pokemon book, a small plastic action figure, a couple of cheap watches, and a few other items, said Detective Sgt. Joseph Giordano Jr.

 

At one end of the trip wire and inside the box lid was a hand-drawn symbol, said Giordano.

 

"Whoever locates it opens it, leaves something in it, signs the logbook, and puts it in some other place," he explained.

 

"Our concern is the time consumed. The four fire trucks, the bomb squad, ATF and police were tied up with this for approximately three hours," said Giordano. He said he was also concerned that "in this day and age, people want to play these 'Star Trek' games."

 

The last entry in the logbook was dated March 21 and signed by someone who wrote he was from Louisville, Ky.

 

A search of the Internet turned up a Web site on "Geocaching" which features forum posts made by Lavarock, whose profile identified him as a man named Rob from Woodbury. An e-mail sent to Lavarock asking for comment about the box found Thursday night did not get a reply by press time.

 

Camden County Sheriff Michael McLaughlin said his Technical Services Unit has seen something similar in Camden County and Burlington County in recent years.

 

According to the Web site, geocaching usually involves some kind of water-tight plastic container, but no mention is made of trip wires or alarm devices.

 

I AM NO LONGER ALONE!

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Don't forget at the end of the day the EOD Officer has to put his neck on the block, every time he/she deals with a incident. What ends up as a seemingly innocent object, could have been placed to deliberately bring the EOD team into the area to be caught by a secondary explosion triggered by timer, control wire, or other remote detonator! The IRA actually used two explosions timed to go off after each other, the second one targeted the responding emergency services. So come on people his comments were made after he had attended a britches filling incident! It was real to them when first attending the incident.

Dave.

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:rolleyes: I logged this cache it is at least 500 feet from any structure, you have to bushwack to reach it, and it is at the edge of a swampy lake. the intention was to make it easy for "Ladies" to find it! I thought the alarm thingy was a bit much, but hey lets not stifle creativity. As for the police, bomb squad and ATF, is it not our responsibility to inform land owners/manager about such caches. Perhaps if they had known none of this would have happened, and if they did know where they contacted first? Perhaps to avoid such happenings in the future we as acommunity should get together with local law enforcement agencies and inform them of the game. I fhtey had been aware of this cache in the first place it would not have been a problem, but then again perhaps they would see this as a prime way for someone to blow people up!
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I have to wonder.. if there had been a Geocaching sticker on the outside of the container, would this have happened?

As I understand, the cache was labeled, and even the trip wire was labeled.

I guess if you did happen to plant a bomb, labeling it as not a bomb will keep it from being detected.

The cache was investgated as suspicious that's all, not blown up.

One cache I found was labeled "Geocache (Not a Bomb)" That cache was an ammo can magnetically attached to the bottom of an inactive train car. That cache was also later plundered.

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Also, re physical caches, maybe we should start recommending clear plastic cache boxes rather than metal or camo-painted ones so that any suspicious passerby (or police, ranger, etc) can see what's in it without having to open it.

 

If someone is bent on doing harm, they can make a bomb look like anything. Not all bombs are dynamite sticks, wrapped in tape with an alarm clock on the end..

 

Clearly labeling the box as a geocache and placing contact info on the outside will help matters more than clear containers. And more than that, common sense is even better. Use containers appropriate for the area you are placing your cache. For example, don't use a PVC pipe in urban areas, or popular parks. And above all hide your caches well enough that they won't be discovered accidently. End of problem.

Edited by briansnat
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And above all hide your caches well enough that they won't be discovered accidently. End of problem.

A great suggestion but not the end of the problem. It's been pretty well documented in the forums that no matter how well you hide your cache, it is not always rehidden as it was originally intended.

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:rolleyes: I logged this cache it is at least 500 feet from any structure, you have to bushwack to reach it, and it is at the edge of a swampy lake. the intention was to make it easy for "Ladies" to find it! I thought the alarm thingy was a bit much, but hey lets not stifle creativity. As for the police, bomb squad and ATF, is it not our responsibility to inform land owners/manager about such caches. Perhaps if they had known none of this would have happened, and if they did know where they contacted first? Perhaps to avoid such happenings in the future we as acommunity should get together with local law enforcement agencies and inform them of the game. I fhtey had been aware of this cache in the first place it would not have been a problem, but then again perhaps they would see this as a prime way for someone to blow people up!

Easier for 'ladies' to find it?

I'm a cacher, I'm a lady, and quite honestly, I take offense to that. I know that I haven't gotten alot of finds, but I also have numerous health problems that provent me from getting out at times (bad pelvis, knees, etc)... Last cache I found I went out and was knee deep in mud, then elbow deep in mud when I lost my shoe, two miles through the woods, bug bites, etc, to get to a cache that was hidden in a log wiht spiders on it.

 

Why is it that people think that women are naturally weak? Any creature that can push a bowling ball through a keyhole (think - woman having a baby) is far from weak.

Ooh... maybe they'll start making gpsrs in a cutesy floral covering for us 'lady cachers'?

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I am wondering if lavarock had actual permission from the land owner or "frisbee"permission. If they only had "frisbee" permission, would it have come off the same way if the land manager/owner actually knew this was on their property?

 

A land owner called me once to come look at a suspicious shack on the back of his newly willed peoperty. It turned out to be an old construction dynamite shack that had been there for almost 50 years. Professional Law Enforcement training calls for the officer on the scene to call those with the appropriate training. I do not see that as over reaction or CYA. It is following protocalls and procedures that are in place for the protection of the general public and the oficer themselves.

 

I do not expect you to agree with me as I have seen the negative law enforcement slant on this website. That's the cool thing about forums like this!

 

Could this have all been avoided with a litte communication???

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Am I the only person who puts their REAL name on the OUTSIDE of the cache when they place it?

 

I can't remember if I put it outside the cache, but I wrote "official geocache" on all but one of my containers that I used so far, or used the GC.com sticker and included how to reach me somewhere (often in the cache letter, but I know I put Carleenp at least on the outside of them I think, the lame archived micro being the exception). I have since decided that future caches will have contact info on the outside.

 

Anyway, I guess I view this as a combination of a cool creative cache idea and an unfortunate incident that maybe should have been thought of. I like the idea of that cache, yet the unfortunate side effect of terrorism is that people get jumpy. And maybe rightfully so. I guess better safe than sorry even if the possibilty is slim.

 

I agree with the post about educating local police. It makes me think that if the police are informed about caching, their time would be saved if they get a call about one. They will then know what the object likely is and be able to try to verify that it is an actual cache through the site before spending time and resources on diffusing an imaginary bomb. I suppose there still might be reasons for them to "react" even if they know about caching, but at least they would be informed! It makes me think that local groups should consider sending letters to law enforcement and tell them about caching.

Edited by carleenp
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