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Emergency Cache Archival Needed


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I just posted a 'should be archived' note for the "Grand Central Station" geocache, GC4D38, in Los Angeles, California. I was the cacher who was unlucky enough to be spotted walking away from the cache, GPSr in hand, by two LAPD motorcycle officers this evening. In the heightened state of security with the election and so forth going on, and because of a recent arrest of a foreign national who evidently *was* using his GPSr to map the location of pylons and supports around the airport, they were taking no chances. I was 'detained' and kept in custody, handcuffed off and on, for about four hours, and spent beaucoup time talking to some very very serious, very courteous, but very very serious, officers from the LAPD, Los Angeles Airport Police, and, finally, the FBI.

 

They want the cache archived *now*. When I was finally released, they had me take the cache, and all the bugs inside, with me -- actually, I think they'd have been as happy if I'd tossed it in a dumpster, but they made clear it was NOT to be replaced on the restricted access road (which used to be open, but isn't anymore) where the cache was located.

 

Since this cache is *frequently* searched out by cachers, even if it's here in my hotel room someone could be out there right now looking for it. I did post a 'should be archived' note, but since it might be a day or two before an cache approver spots the note, I thought I had better post here and hope to get someone's attention soonest. I'll also be sending this to contact@geocaching.com.

 

-- Lemur

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Just for everyone's information, "should be archived" notes are sent automatically to several of the site volunteers, including myself. It's like being on the watchlist for every cache in the world, but only for "should be archived" notes. There are ten or twenty or more each day. So, when I woke up this morning, I read this one and immediately checked the cache page. Glad to see that another team member already took care of it.

 

So, it is not a matter of waiting until an admin "happens to see it," or starting a forum thread, or writing to the contact address separately. We do our best to respond promptly to archive requests that are based on safety concerns, law enforcement concerns, etc. It's the ones that are more routine -- cache is wet, owner isn't around, cache is missing, etc. -- that take more time. Initially we would prefer that the cache owner respond. That obviously wasn't the case here.

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Just for everyone's information, "should be archived" notes are sent automatically to several of the site volunteers, including myself.

As a recent example, on Saturday I posted an SBA for a cache that was removed by employees of the the location and turned over to their security people (we had a nice chat when they found me looking for the cache, I may have gotten one of them interested in geocaching).

Immediately after submitting the SBA I sent a quick e-mail to the cache owner. I then went back to the cache page and Keystone had already disabled the cache (What can I say? The guy's good.)

 

Personally, if I was the one being held for that long, I would tell them to get me to a computer with internet access so I could take care of it immediately, while they were standing there.

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But.... the cache in the other thread was "well placed." I am so confused.... :lol:

 

Caches that are right at the perimeter of a major airport would not be listed if submitted today. See the Guidelines regarding off-limits areas.

I can't say how well-placed the cache was.

Last time I was in LA that cache was the closest one to my hotel. Well within walking distance, even if I didn't have a car.

I saw where it was, but didn't do it.

read between the lines

I did find 20-30 other caches in the area that weekend.

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So gratifying and reassuring to see our Homeland Security on task and functioning at peak levels.  Strange days indeed.  Election?  What election?

Sounds more like overreacting :lol:

Really? Over-reacted?

 

A guy who lives 3000 miles away using a GPS to hide a box off a closed road in a restricted area next to a major airport.

 

On the eve of the presidential elections.

 

After terrorists killed almost 200 people and injured 1800 more during Spain's recent elections.

 

The same terrorists who had warned they would turn Spain "into an inferno" and "your blood will flow like rivers" unless Spain halted its support for the United States.

 

The same terrorists already responsible for the largest loss of life on America's soil in 100 yrs, And who just days ago threatened more attacks.

 

I feel bad Lemur went through the ordeal he did, but I'm dadgum glad the police reacted the way they did.

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Stanley Hilton was a senior advisor to Sen Bob Dole ® and has personally known Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz for decades. This courageous man has risked his professional reputation, and possibly his life, to get this information out to people.

 

"This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder." --Stanley Hilton

 

Found this here;

Story

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Stanley Hilton was a senior advisor to Sen Bob Dole ® and has personally known Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz for decades. This courageous man has risked his professional reputation, and possibly his life, to get this information out to people.

 

"This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder." --Stanley Hilton

 

Found this here;

Story

Ummmm geocaching?

 

EDIT: Too slow

Edited by McKenzie Clan
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Ummm, what does the above post have to do with this topic? ( Oops, I see a fast reply to that!)

So sorry to hear about your scary few hours but glad all worked out well in the end and as posted, you were at least able to take the cache contents. This just shows how careful cache hides need to be, taking in any possible considerations and scenerios with the safety of cachers and their families in mind.

Edited by geobrowns
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So gratifying and reassuring to see our Homeland Security on task... 

 

Sounds more like overreacting ;)

I disagree also. I think SBA notes should be placed on cache pages whenever the location creates the potential to compromise our game with law enforcement.

 

I am talking about a REAL potential here. Not just anytime someone doesn't like the cache, or the placer. Not talking about a TB Hotel at an international airport that is tucked away in the trees and a very great distance from any airport facilities. Not even talking about the hundreds (thousands?) of low level security risk, poorly thought out city micros that might lead someone to have trouble with law enforcement.

 

I am talking about those caches near airports, railroads, large sports arenas, federal buildings, etc. that would not be approved today. We should be self-policing and start posting SBA's if (and only if) the situation actually looks bad. The cache placer will see that notice and can make their pitch to the volunteers if they disagree.

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Um, because that big patch of green just above the cache spot looks rediculously like a suspicous golf course?

Yup, it's is a nice little 15 hole golf course. Too bad the cache wasn't there.

 

e7242198-96a1-4d23-b507-e834f7b707ab.jpg

 

The cache itself was located on airport property, and Northside Parkway, the road the cache is along side, is posted closed and off-limits by the FBI. Hence the convoluted parking instructions for the cache.

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Dang that map looked confusing.

No wonder the cache had issues.

Yea, the restricted area from the obvious approach (Northside Parkway) was the reason I passed on it when I was there. Since I do not live there, I really wasn't positive that there wasn't legal access to the cache. Since the cache was still being found, I assumed at the time there was legal access and I just couldn't find it. Since I never even parked the car, I didn't consider it a DNF.

 

In the cache hider's defense, according to this news article, the area was open and unrestricted when the cache was placed. It appears the access road was closed after the cache was placed.

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Stanley Hilton was a senior advisor to Sen Bob Dole ® and has personally known Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz for decades. This courageous man has risked his professional reputation, and possibly his life, to get this information out to people.

 

"This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder." --Stanley Hilton

 

Found this here;

Story

same site i stumbled across the other day: full of ufo crap and outrageously anti-semetic ;)

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Aw man, the poor cache owner! :lol:

First I become an overzealous @#$%! about the cache (for which I have since fully apologized to him personally, thanks, that's now ended), THEN it turns out he has had some really BAD personal disasters in his life, and now THIS. That's too bleepin' much.

 

HEY MURPHY! Yeah, you with the "murphy's law"! Quick messing with J-Man! Sheesh!

 

Condolences also to the cacher who got detained. ;)

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Stanley Hilton was a senior advisor to Sen Bob Dole ® and has personally known Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz for decades. This courageous man has risked his professional reputation, and possibly his life, to get this information out to people.

 

"This (9/11) was all planned. This was a government-ordered operation. Bush personally signed the order. He personally authorized the attacks. He is guilty of treason and mass murder." --Stanley Hilton

 

Found this here;

Story

So why do all the conspiracy theorists and anti-conservatives question the President's mental abilities? This story makes him sound like a maniacal genius.

 

Moooo Haaaaa Haaaaa

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Lemur again -- back home in Vermont now.

 

I was mildly suspicious of the cache location when I saw that it was on a road right next to the airport that had been closed off. HOWEVER, since I saw a fair number of people walking along it, doing that whole power-walking thing where they stride along fast working their arms and legs, I concluded "Okay, it's closed to vehicular traffic and car bombs, but evidently no one minds walkers." So I parked at the dead-end street (which Sparrowhawk also recommended, only I hadn't read his note), walked to the cache site in the gathering gloom, signed the logbook under a streetlight, traded travel bugs, then replaced the cache. It was at that point that the two motorcycle officers came by -- and at that moment I realized that the sun was all the way down, I was now the only walker in view, and I was holding a suspicious gadget with a short, stumpy antenna.

 

"Uh oh," I thought.

 

You know the rest from my frantic post last night.

 

In hindsight, the cache never should have been approved, even if at the time it was placed the street was open to vehicular traffic. I could have stood where I found the cache and fired a BB gun and hit taxiing airplanes, assuming it was a *good* BB gun.

 

However, it's my own responsibility for having been there. I made the choice to go hunt the cache because of several factors:

 

1) I could plainly see that it was an oft-visited cache -- hence my conclusion that it would be unlikely to land me in trouble;

2) I could see that lots of walkers use that street -- hence my conclusion that my using it would likewise be no big deal;

3) *I* knew I wasn't up to anything illegal.

 

From the point of view of the LAPD, LAAPD, and FBI, they of course were thinking:

 

1) It's the night before a MAJOR election,

2) We just busted a suspicious foreign national with a GPSr a couple of weeks ago, and he *was* mapping out airport infrastructure,

3) It's after dark,

4) The guy's got a beard,

5) Etc.,

 

... they were entirely justified in taking me in. MY point of view didn't matter one whit. It helps sometimes to remember that the police can't read your mind. It also helps to remember that if I *was* a bad guy and they *didn't* bust me and I *did* do something bad, there'd be hell to pay, and if I was an innocent guy doing something dumb that would eventually come out.

 

What I was worried about, of course, is that they might decide to make an example of me, or might horribly misconstrue something I said, or whatever, and wind up holding me overnight, or for days, and next thing you'd know I'd be getting reported up to Washington as a suspected terrorist. It was a little frightening at times when I'd try to explain to one of the many, many people who opened my cell door and asked me a few questions how geocaching worked, and they'd stare blankly at me and then close the door again... and then I'd hear, muffled, a VERY different version of what I'd just said.

 

"He says it's a club, they play this game, they go find hidden boxes near airports."

 

"What???" I'd think, and I'd try again with the next person who stuck his head in.

 

One of the sergeants on duty, though, said at one point "My kids have one of these, I think this guy is square." I just about cried with relief at that point, because for quite a long time I'd heard nothing but "so should we call for transport to downtown?" and so forth coming through the glass.

 

I think what eventually saved my butt was I finally *did* get one of them to go to geocaching.com; eventually I saw them handing around printouts of the home page and so on. I don't know if all the officers understood it, but apparently enough of them did.

 

I didn't mention *this* earlier either, but there was one really unpleasant twist. I had actually been taken back to the scene of the cache, had explained it all again to the bomb squad, then had had my cuffs taken off, my keys, wallet, etc., given back to me, had had the CACHE given to me, and had been told I was free to go. I was trudging off toward my car, back at that dead-end street where I'd parked, and I was about fifty yards away when they called to me... and asked me to come back... and told me that the FBI had finally arrived at the station and wanted to talk to me.

 

I had visions of John Ashcroft's FBI taking me somewhere and detaining me indefinitely under the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, which allows suspected terrorists to be detained without charges pretty much as long as they like. But what could I do? They had guns, they had cop cars, they had my name, address, phone number, they had everything. I told them I'd be happy to cooperate with the FBI and back I went in the car. This time, though, they didn't handcuff me.

 

At the station, I met with three FBI agents and someone who was wearing a POLICE id badge around his neck, but in plainclothes. I got dressed down something fierce by the guy in plainclothes, who frankly could have been a stunt double for Tommy Lee Jones in terms of voice, bearing, attitude, etc. "If we could bill you for the expense you've put us all to tonight, we'd bankrupt you."

 

However, the FBI plainclothes guys, two men and one woman, were actually quite courteous, not what I'd feared. One of them had actually recently bought a Garmin GPS for his airplane. I told them in detail about caching, about travel bugs, and so on -- and then had to wait while various folks conferred. For a while there I got to watch while the FBI agents merrily went through all the travel bugs in the cache looking at each one and exclaiming in amusement at what each one wanted to do. (By this time they knew about logging bugs in and out and so on.)

 

It was *very* surreal. I didn't dare become too comfortable with the situation because I knew it could change at any moment, but they were being very cordial.

 

Finally, after another hour or so of Hangin' With The FBI, I was taken back to my car. Amusing note: One of the FBI guys said "Do we know where his car is?" and I pulled out the GPSr and said "Let's see, it's about 3/10 of a mile that way" and they all looked at me, actually grinning, and said "Don't EVEN start."

 

The officers who drove me back almost got away with my keys; I had to run after them going "WAIT, WAIT". (They thought they'd given them back to me already.)

 

*That* would have been amusing; stuck next to my car, w/o keys, trying to call the LAAPD and get them to find the officers who had my keys. "Um, one of them was a big Hispanic guy, didn't get his name, the other was a shorter white guy, last name ____, yeah, I was the suspected terrorist, anyway, they have my car keys."

 

Very surreal evening. But again, in the end, I have to agree with those who said that we'd sure as hell be faulting the officers if they HADN'T stopped me and if I HAD been up to something. This is why caches near airports are a Bad Idea; you wind up making it harder for the cops to know the real bad guys from the weirdos. ;)

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Personally, if I was the one being held for that long, I would tell them to get me to a computer with internet access so I could take care of it immediately, while they were standing there.

 

I told them I'd be happy to do that, actually. They were less than excited by the idea of allowing a suspected terrorist to sit down at their computers and do something on the Internet.

 

Later on, when I was dealing with the FBI and that one guy (I suspect he was chief of the station or chief of the LAAPD or something), and had gotten them pretty up to speed on what geocaching was, I told them that I would absolutely, definitely get the cache disabled as soon as I got back to my hotel and that no one would be searching for it thereafter. They firmly assured me that it was in my best interests to do exactly that.

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If anyone in SoCal wants to create a new TB hotel, email me. We managed (with help) to score a safe location on the grounds of a MAJOR chain hotel right near the Portland, Oregon airport with full general-manager permission.

 

I may be able to help ya figure out a way to duplicate that idea... result: safe TB cache with no danger to cachers caching around LAX.

 

Just email me... no reply in thread, please. Thanks.

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In hindsight, the cache never should have been approved, even if at the time it was placed the street was open to vehicular traffic.

This assertion needs to be squared up against the geocache listing standards as they existed in early 2002, when this cache was listed. Hindsight, of course, is always 20-20. As I stated earlier, the cache would not be listed if submitted today. Back then, there were fewer rules. But as people continued hiding caches by airports and dams, or 2000 miles from home while on vacation, or 50 feet from another cache, these rules were added. Now we have a long, comprehensive set of listing standards which not everyone takes the time to read.

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...In hindsight, the cache never should have been approved, even if at the time it was placed the street was open to vehicular traffic.  I could have stood where I found the cache and fired a BB gun and hit taxiing airplanes, assuming it was a *good* BB gun....

If the area had public access it was fair game when it was an open area. If being able to tag planes with a BB gun is a real concernt they flat out shouldnt' even allow power walkers in the area.

 

Geocaching is a game with no harm intended. I'm glad they take security seriously, however security should be handled with minimal impact outside were it's needed. In other words geocaching is here to stay, so is higher security. I have a use for safe flying, but not much of one for martial law. There is a balance and maybe it's 528' from airports or maybe on the right side of the 'stay out' signs. Which should be located so that is far enough away already. Not "at the no tresspassing sign, then another mile JIC".

 

That's my comment in general. The outcome on this cache was a good one.

 

Edit;

They firmly assured me that it was in my best interests to do exactly that
I think they take classes to come up with smarmy commetns like that. Edited by Renegade Knight
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In hindsight, the cache never should have been approved, even if at the time it was placed the street was open to vehicular traffic.

This assertion needs to be squared up against the geocache listing standards as they existed in early 2002, when this cache was listed.

 

I don't in any way mean to question the common sense of the approvers. I understand that rules get tougher as people do dumb things and that the rules were different in 2002. That's why I say "in hindsight."

 

I've done MANY things in my life that, in hindsight, were utterly stupid, but didn't seem so at the time. ;)

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I went running over there today. Since I live nearby, I have gone to that cache several times to drop off travel bugs. The road is closed to traffic but used by joggers, dog walkers, and bicyclists. There are usually several security vehicles around too. As of this afternoon there were still NO signs indicating that the area was off limits to pedestrians. I jogged right by a motorcycle cop twice without him giving me a second glance.

 

Like Renegade Knight, some things bother me. Why was this such a terrible place for a cache? Its OPEN to the public and separated from the airport by a chainlink fence topped with barbed wire.

 

Yes, terrorists COULD plant a bomb here. This area is probably a half mile from any terminals. Maybe it would be easier for them to just drive into the airport?

 

Yes, terrorists COULD shoot at the airplanes from this area...and from a thousand other places along the takeoff and landing pattern.

 

Yes, terrorists COULD cut through the fence and get out onto the runways. That would be bad. Thats why we have security vehicles there. I don't have a problem with that. Anyway, the cache was on the other side of the road, well away from the fence.

 

So the word "overreaction" comes to mind. It especially galls me that the plain clothes guy would yell at Lemur even after he understood the whole geocaching thing. Instead, shouldn't he be yelling at his security guys for allowing 2 log books full of people to access the cache undetected over the past two years?

 

And it worries me that, while no judge or jury could have convicted Lemur of anything, in this atmosphere of fear he could have been detained indefinitely without any rights whatever.

 

There, I said it. Flame away.

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It especially galls me that the plain clothes guy would yell at Lemur even after he understood the whole geocaching thing.  Instead, shouldn't he be yelling at his security guys for allowing 2 log books full of people to access the cache undetected over the past two years?

 

He "yelled" at me when he first arrived, testy at this idiot who'd managed to stir up so much ruckus. At the end, when he'd had a chance to get the full story, he was much more genial.

 

As I said, one of the reasons that they were especially paranoid was because of the recent incident where a person was found with a GPS who was *not* there for recreational purposes. A second reason: I was there after dark, walking along in an area they considered off limits.

 

Frankly, I did think that if they were going to keep reminding me that they could prosecute me for loitering and trespassing in a restricted area, they could have actually put up some signs to the effect that it was restricted -- one has to look very hard to see anything of the sort other than the car barriers at either end of the road. But there were a few signs there, small ones, against the airport fence -- but I only saw them when I was standing, handcuffed, next to a patrol car next to that same fence.

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As I was jogging on the closed road today I looked real hard for signs indicating it was off limits to anything other than vehicles. I couldn't find any. There were several "No Trespassing" signs posted on the chainlink fences, facing out. They were positioned to indicate that the No Trespassing area was BEHIND the fences. In otherwords, "Don't you Dare Climb Over this Fence and Through the Barbed Wire" :o

 

In addition, the barricades at the end of the road went across the asphalt, but NOT across the sidewalk. That says to me that the area is open if you don't drive. Besides, if it were truely a closed area, security should have been kicking people out all along.

 

By the way Lemur, kudos for your understanding attitude. In the same situation I'm not sure I could have kept my cool as well as you did. The upside is that you'll have a GREAT story and a lot of travel bugs to spread around. B)

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Glad to see that you are back home in Vermont Lemur. My Mom, sister and I were in LA last February visiting family that live 2 miles from this cache, and I actually drove to the parking spot for this cache. We were intent on finding it, but the area seemed a bit busy to us and we would probably be observed while finding the cache. So we headed over to the Chop and Stamp Geocache nearby. GCH9R1 Chop & Stamp This cache was on an abandoned street and up a small hill overlooking the runways on one side and the ocean on the other side. What a great spot! The road (Sandpiper St.) was closed to traffic at the time, but we could walk up to the cache. There were high fences on both sides and at the end of the street with barbed wire on the top. The cache was a small tin placed under a cement barrier. The planes were landing from the ocean that day and they would fly right over our heads. This cache has been turned into a Virtual now. I guess there must be signs in the area now forbidding all access to this area. We have been discussing cache labeling and placement on our local forum, and someone mentioned this article just out today. Bomb scare turns out to be part of Internet game. Lets all be careful out there, and think about cache labeling and placement in this time of heightened security.

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So, they had you in handcuffs?  Were you under arrest?  Did they read you your rights?

While I don't blame these folks for questioning you and for involving the FBI, I do question the necessity for handcuffs..

I was not under arrest. If I had objected to 'coming along to the station', etc., I'm sure I would promptly have been placed under arrest. I was never read my rights because I was never under arrest.

 

Before you say "you should have insisted on being read your rights," you have to remember that I had a flight to catch in the morning, home to my wife and job, and that deciding to be Mr. Tough Guy would probably have, at a bare minimum, resulted in my being formally arrested and held overnight. As it was, by being very cooperative (and rather scared), I eventually did get let go. I didn't enjoy the experience by any stretch of the imagination, but still, I maintain that within the context the officers were operating in, they were doing their jobs responsibly.

 

Yes, I know people walk and jog and stuff on that road all the dadgum time; but again, it was after dark (and the walkers and joggers had all gone home), I was carrying a GPSr, and I'm a tall, looming bearded guy.

 

If you wonder why I keep mentioning my beard, it's evident from some of the questions that came my way that they were working off profile data of what constitutes a terrorist.

 

I was asked, not once but two or three times, what kind of name 'Furr' was. I told them "Well, German, originally." (This caused a couple of them to immediately think I *was* German.) I was then asked for my ethnic descent, and I told them "Well, some German, some Scotch-Irish, etc., etc., but my family on both sides has been over here since the mid-1700's..." They cut me off and said "Oh, so you're an American citizen?" This was *after* I'd given them my driver's license and Social Security number.

 

I'm not sure, but I think that for a while there they were operating under the assumption that I was from overseas, hence the repeated lines of questions ending with "oh, so you're an American citizen?"

 

I always thought I looked like a generic redneck from down South, which is what I am, but evidently with the beard I also look like a Muslim fanatic, at least in bad light.

 

The handcuffs are standard policy, apparently, when transporting prisoners in a squad car. You wouldn't want a prisoner leaping over the back of the seat and trying to strangle the officer, etc. -- and no, the car I was transported in didn't have a mesh barrier between the front and back seats. As for keeping me handcuffed when I was in the cell, again, I expect that was so I couldn't lunge for them and attack them each time they opened the door. They did take the cuffs after I'd been in the cell for a while, but they put them back on me when I was being transported back to the scene to talk to the bomb squad.

 

Again, it may seem harsh to me, but officers are trained to follow procedures and not say "well, you seem like a nice guy, we'll leave the cuffs off."

 

When all is said and done, I wish I hadn't been detained. When all is said and done, I wish I'd gotten them to listen to what I said about the geocaching.com website basically explaining what I was doing there instead of it taking at least two hours before they finally went off to look at it on their computer. I *really* wish I hadn't had to spend so much time telling them what I was doing and then hearing them go out and translate it so badly into something that made me sound like much more of a nutcase than I am. (It was sort of like playing a game of Telephone, where you whisper something in someone's ear, and they whisper it in the ear of the next person, and so on around the room, until at the end what the last person reports having heard is *nothing* like what the first person actually said.) But, within that context, they were polite enough and, in the end, having followed procedure, correctly concluded that, while I may have technically been in a restricted area they hadn't been strictly enforcing, I hadn't actually been up to anything.

 

-- Lemur

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We have been discussing cache labeling and placement on our local forum, and someone mentioned this article just out today.  Bomb scare turns out to be part of Internet game

 

Woof. That's a pretty scary article. Especially the bit about tallying the costs and making the cacher pay for the investigation. When that bit was mentioned to me in passing toward the end of *my* ordeal, I quietly, internally, freaked out, but continued right on saying "I am very sorry, sir, I was an idiot, I didn't think." ... and it wasn't mentioned again.

 

-- Lemur

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As I was jogging on the closed road today I looked real hard for signs indicating it was off limits to anything other than vehicles.  I couldn't find any.  There were several "No Trespassing" signs posted on the chainlink fences, facing out.  They were positioned to indicate that the No Trespassing area was BEHIND the fences.  In otherwords, "Don't you Dare Climb Over this Fence and Through the Barbed Wire" :o 

 

Yeah. I wanted to plead that fact with them -- to say "look, dammit, the 'no loitering' signs are all the way over there, NOT here where you stopped me,' but again, I wanted to be allowed to catch my flight home.

 

Besides, if the *intent* of the signs was to make the whole road off-limits, or if the *intent* of the barriers on the actual roadway was to make the whole area off-limits to vehicles AND walkers AND joggers, it wouldn't have done me a lot of good to say "hey, why are you stopping ME? You let joggers and walkers use this road all the time."

 

I know enough about the mindset of law enforcement personnel to know that one rarely gets anywhere pleading uneven enforcement of laws. (For a quick demonstration of this, try telling the next cop who stops you for speeding that other drivers were going MUCH faster than you and that he should worry about the real menaces, not people like you who were only a bit over.)

 

Pragmatically speaking, I had to face facts: regardless of how many people they quietly let use the area, they had chosen to stop *me*, and if I wanted to be allowed to go, I had to be very very cooperative.

 

-- Lemur

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So, they had you in handcuffs?  Were you under arrest?  Did they read you your rights?

While I don't blame these folks for questioning you and for involving the FBI, I do question the necessity for handcuffs..

I was not under arrest. If I had objected to 'coming along to the station', etc., I'm sure I would promptly have been placed under arrest. I was never read my rights because I was never under arrest.

 

Before you say "you should have insisted on being read your rights," you have to remember that I had a flight to catch in the morning, home to my wife and job, and that deciding to be Mr. Tough Guy would probably have, at a bare minimum, resulted in my being formally arrested and held overnight. As it was, by being very cooperative (and rather scared), I eventually did get let go. I didn't enjoy the experience by any stretch of the imagination, but still, I maintain that within the context the officers were operating in, they were doing their jobs responsibly.

 

Yes, I know people walk and jog and stuff on that road all the dadgum time; but again, it was after dark (and the walkers and joggers had all gone home), I was carrying a GPSr, and I'm a tall, looming bearded guy.

 

If you wonder why I keep mentioning my beard, it's evident from some of the questions that came my way that they were working off profile data of what constitutes a terrorist.

 

I was asked, not once but two or three times, what kind of name 'Furr' was. I told them "Well, German, originally." (This caused a couple of them to immediately think I *was* German.) I was then asked for my ethnic descent, and I told them "Well, some German, some Scotch-Irish, etc., etc., but my family on both sides has been over here since the mid-1700's..." They cut me off and said "Oh, so you're an American citizen?" This was *after* I'd given them my driver's license and Social Security number.

 

I'm not sure, but I think that for a while there they were operating under the assumption that I was from overseas, hence the repeated lines of questions ending with "oh, so you're an American citizen?"

 

I always thought I looked like a generic redneck from down South, which is what I am, but evidently with the beard I also look like a Muslim fanatic, at least in bad light.

 

The handcuffs are standard policy, apparently, when transporting prisoners in a squad car. You wouldn't want a prisoner leaping over the back of the seat and trying to strangle the officer, etc. -- and no, the car I was transported in didn't have a mesh barrier between the front and back seats. As for keeping me handcuffed when I was in the cell, again, I expect that was so I couldn't lunge for them and attack them each time they opened the door. They did take the cuffs after I'd been in the cell for a while, but they put them back on me when I was being transported back to the scene to talk to the bomb squad.

 

Again, it may seem harsh to me, but officers are trained to follow procedures and not say "well, you seem like a nice guy, we'll leave the cuffs off."

 

When all is said and done, I wish I hadn't been detained. When all is said and done, I wish I'd gotten them to listen to what I said about the geocaching.com website basically explaining what I was doing there instead of it taking at least two hours before they finally went off to look at it on their computer. I *really* wish I hadn't had to spend so much time telling them what I was doing and then hearing them go out and translate it so badly into something that made me sound like much more of a nutcase than I am. (It was sort of like playing a game of Telephone, where you whisper something in someone's ear, and they whisper it in the ear of the next person, and so on around the room, until at the end what the last person reports having heard is *nothing* like what the first person actually said.) But, within that context, they were polite enough and, in the end, having followed procedure, correctly concluded that, while I may have technically been in a restricted area they hadn't been strictly enforcing, I hadn't actually been up to anything.

 

-- Lemur

Lemur,

 

Your account is a good example for other geocachers who might find themselves in a similar situation. You should should write it up and submit it Today's Cacher. Not everyone reads the forums and this is good information.

 

Though I'm in the private sector, on occasion I have to work closely with the police and also attend the same training courses, including bomb training. I am certified as a Law Enforcement Classroom & Firearms Instructor, and as a Law Enforcement Armorer.

 

I am already at ease around police officers, so in a similar situation, I could have probably produced enough credentials and info not to be taken in as you had. BUT it all depends on the officer.

 

The fact that you kept your cool worked wonders for you in more ways than you probably know. Police officers are just people with a job to do and when some yahoo starts demanding their rights and such the situation will only get more drawn out for them. The officer will see it as an attempt at intimidation and they have a whole laundry list of stuff that they can legitmatly detain you for. The "My rights" argument is one you will ultimatly lose if your goal is to shorten your encounter.

 

I'm glad you took the time to share your experience. :oB)

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The upside is that you'll have a GREAT story and a lot of travel bugs to spread around. B)

 

I feel sort of weird about that. Both the story bit and the bugs bit.

 

The story makes the LAPD, LAAPD, and FBI seem like total Nazis the first time you hear it, but again, if you try to look at it from the point of view of law enforcement agencies who recently found an actual bad guy mapping out weak points in the airport area with a map and GPSr, and hey, here's another guy ALSO right next to the airport with a GPSr, it starts to sound much more like they were properly doing their job, you know? And I'm not particularly interested in telling the story in a self-serving way and making fun of people who were doing their jobs. People who know me know I'm not a terrorist and will see the whole incident as "overreaction from law enforcement," -- but in the real world, things are NOT black and white.

 

I'm only sitting here contributing to this forum because 1) I can't sleep, and 2) having opened a can of worms by starting this thread in the first place (in order to get the cache archived quickly), I felt it was my responsibility to provide clarification to the various questions and points people raised.

 

As for the bugs bit, travel bug hunting is one of the things I greatly enjoy about caching, okay? I've gone to great lengths to help bugs achieve their missions -- in fact, the reason I was even out last night was in order to help a travel bug which wanted to make its way back to Washington state, but had been stuck in the Northeast, along on its way. I wasn't actually feeling particularly well last night; I seriously considered going to bed and just taking said bug back to Vermont with me after all. But, noooooooo, I felt all guilty about that and went out to the nearest cache to drop it off.

 

You know the rest of the story, eh?

 

So here I am, Mr. I-Like-Travel-Bugs, with FOURTEEN bugs in a little heap on my office floor (at home), including the original bug ("Wriggles") that I'd gone out specifically to place last night. Many of those bugs didn't particularly WANT to go to Vermont; one wanted to go to Disneyland... and I managed to screw up and now, here it is, having gone from a cache an hour's drive from Disneyland to a house in freakin' Vermont.

 

Well, I guess it's better to be in Vermont and still intact and traveling than to have been exploded by the bomb squad or thrown in a dumpster by the LAPD. I'm going to try to do what I can to get all these bugs moving again -- unfortunately, after four trips to California in five weeks, I'm now only going as far away as Boston and Philadelphia in the next month.

 

Sorry, bugs. :o

 

-- Lemur

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So here I am, Mr. I-Like-Travel-Bugs, with FOURTEEN bugs in a little heap on my office floor (at home), including the original bug ("Wriggles") that I'd gone out specifically to place last night. Many of those bugs didn't particularly WANT to go to Vermont; one wanted to go to Disneyland... and I managed to screw up and now, here it is, having gone from a cache an hour's drive from Disneyland to a house in freakin' Vermont.

 

Well, I guess it's better to be in Vermont and still intact and traveling than to have been exploded by the bomb squad or thrown in a dumpster by the LAPD. I'm going to try to do what I can to get all these bugs moving again -- unfortunately, after four trips to California in five weeks, I'm now only going as far away as Boston and Philadelphia in the next month.

 

Sorry, bugs. :lol:

 

-- Lemur

Sheesh man, don't sweat the bugs. They are just bits of metal and plastic that people essentially threw/gave away. Keep it in perspective. Ya did the best you could. :lol:

 

Do 3 "Hail Jeremys," 7 "Our Hydees" and consider yourself absolved of your sin. :o:huh:B)

 

Great wisdom from a master TB finder:

 

"It's a web of life, in my opinion, and absolutely any movement is the next step in reaching it's goal. That weird side trip to Florida, may be the next step to Canada. And a side trip may have saved it from going MIA by pilferage in Pennsylvania."

 

bthomas on the subject of TB movement 10/27/2003

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Lemur: This has been a very interesting thread. I don't see that you've opened any can of worms. As someone who also had to explain Geocaching to the police at an airport (Hartsfield-Jackon in Atlanta) I've followed this thread with great interest.

 

As far as the TBs go don't sweat it. I think if you posted a reader's digest version of the story on the TB explaining why the TB couldn't be dropped off in CA I'd be willing to bet that would be the most interesting log on any of the TB pages :o.

 

Zack

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According to an article forwarded to me by another cacher who saw this thread, the "foreign national" I kept hearing references to, who was charting locations of airport infrastructure with his GPSr, and who'd made everyone around LAX hypersuspicious of people with GPS units, was ... NOT actually doing anything of the kind.

 

According to the article, the French citizen was doing some planespotting, writing down airplane ID numbers in a game similar to trainspotting. Makes me wonder why I kept getting a version in which the guy had much more sinister motives.

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