View Full Version : Caching and the Bomb Squad

12-09-2008, 07:41 AM
In case you missed it, the weekend of the Conway Meet & Greet one of my caches was determined by the Conway PD to be a possible bomb. The bomb squad of the Conway FD was called out and they used their robot to help determine that the cache was harmless.

The cache in question was an M&M tube, wrapped in tape and attached to a straightened out coathanger that was stuck in the ground in a bush near the sidewalk at a busy shopping center which included a gas station and a pizza place. Apparently someone at the station saw a cacher out looking for the cache and thought they looked suspicious, after they left he went to see what they were looking for and discovered the cache and called the police.

I spoke to the Bomb Squad Captain and he told me the cache was a perfectly designed bomb. He also said if it had been clearly marked with the word "Geocache" the problem would have been solved almost immediately. (I had put a sticker on it originally, but it wasn't waterproof and apparently it had rubbed off).

Some things I've learned from this experience:
1. Label caches clearly. Make sure there is no question what it is when someone finds it.
2. Get permission from EVERYONE near the cache. In the case of the shopping center I should have went by every nearby business and let them know the cache was there and they might see people looking around the area. Probably also a good idea to go by and touch base with the weekend and evening crews at the businesses as well.
3. A week or 2 before an event, alert the police about the event and let them know there will probably be a lot of folks in town looking suspicious and make sure they are familiar with geocaching.

I feel awful that this happened and it has certainly effected my caching activity. I've reevaluated many of my cache hides and disabled and archived several caches.

12-09-2008, 10:50 AM
Thanks for this information. 8O We can all learn from this experience and become better for it.

I think that sometimes we all get so caught up in this game that we are oblivious to how it might look to "muggles" when we are hot in the pursuit of a cache or how a cache may appear to the uninitiated. I don't know about others, but from a personal standpoint, I need to re-evaluate where some of my caches are hidden, who should know about them, and how they are labelled (or not, in many cases :oops: ). And then I need to take the appropriate corrective actions. :!:

12-10-2008, 09:12 AM
So.. we now have a new cacher in Conway called 'PD robot' and he has one find? :lol:

on a serious note, i am now re-evaluating all my hides and will make adjustments as necessary.

12-10-2008, 02:27 PM
I feel that this types of unfortunate situations will always happen from time to time, but I feel all cachers have to do what they can to keep them to a minimal.

I always get permission from the property owner, but BSA534's suggestion on letting others know is a good idea too. I have one cache, The North Pole that is hidden at the Logan County Court house (it is a micro) that is near some windows to an office. I went into the office and let those working there know what was outside.

Labeling caches is also a great idea, but how much to label? How do you label a bison tube? I think there are some challenging hides that make it harder to label without sticking a neon sign there to show everyone where the cache is hidden. I just think if it has camo and has anything that is shaped in the form of what anyone might mistake for a bomb it should be labeled.

Last year for the Paris event I did call the Police Department on the day of the event and gave them a heads up on people in town searching here and there and I will do it again this year.

Everyone here in law enforcement knows me (no not because I have been in trouble, but because I'm one of them) but I am going to make a list of all my caches and give to law enforcement.

Again, I think we need to work on this as a caching community.

12-10-2008, 03:36 PM
This is probably an idiotic question, but what is a bomb shaped like? I wouldn't have known that the m/m tube with a wire to hang it or stick it in the ground or whatever woulda looked like a bomb . . .

12-10-2008, 07:52 PM
A bomb can be fashioned to look like anything, it is sad in this day and time that when someone sees "something" that may be strange to them, they first think it is a bomb, I will echo Paris 1 times advice, main thing is to let people that would be around a cache if it is in a city environment, know what it is and that people holding strange things in their hand will be looking around for it, that way if someone else sees them, the person there can diffuse any alarm or concern that might come up, but as always, there will be times when things just go south,,, it has happened before and will happen again..

12-11-2008, 07:47 AM
I know I usually look suspicious in the urban setting. How many people do you know with some electronic doo-dad in their hand, a camo backpack, and walking back and fourth looking in bushes, side walk cracks, light poles, etc. I'm sorry, perhaps it's being more curious or naive than other people, but I would have to have a look for my self if I saw someone doing something unusual. If I saw someone bury something in the dirt or in the bushes and leave, I'll probably have to take a look. I know I wouldn't call it in though. I guess I just think no one is going to do something like that here.