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View Full Version : WARNING Sherwood now Hostle to Caching .. Got Arested today



releejr
01-25-2006, 09:17 PM
While Caching at the below Cache

IndianHead's Indian Head (http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=fba37255-f5f2-49e9-afa3-babd317bc5ab)

I was picked up on the security cam of a near by Exxon station while hunting this cache, he came out and ask me what I was doing. I explained, and he decided to call the police and the Sherwood Police proceeded to arest me for Criminal Trespass and possition of criminal materal (the Cache .. I had just found it) The officer claimed there was some "residue" of sort (they are going to have it tested).

I want to warn everyone to remove all caches in Sherwood and do not Cache in that area anymore .. the Cops are now aware of us and looking to ARREST US .. Because there is NO SUCH THING AS PUBLIC PROPERITY !!!!!!!!

arkansas_stickerdude
01-25-2006, 10:56 PM
Thats wild maybe someone need to EDUCATE the police so they can figure out how to use a gps also.

NatureFish
01-25-2006, 11:02 PM
EVERY cache requires permission from the landowner, get it and you'll have no problem.

How hard to grasp can that concept be?
Ed

releejr
01-26-2006, 06:25 AM
I agree Fish, but who get the primission, should we be going to every bussiness and shop in the area to ask if it ok for us to look aroind on the edge of the parking lot near their shop? Or does the placer have that responsibility? I went with the thought that it it was placed there it was OK to look for it, especally on the edge of a public parking lot. But I was informed by the owner and the police that there is no such thing as PUBLIC property, that that lot was for parking to go to the shops ONLY to and from the car, anything else was Trespassing

NatureFish
01-26-2006, 07:21 AM
... but who get the primission, should we be going to every bussiness and shop in the area to ask if it ok for us to look aroind on the edge of the parking lot near their shop?

No, you shouldn't. Groundspeak Cache Listing Guidelines clearly require that the hider gain permission for the hide. It is in fact the first line of the Guidelines.

When hiders create a listing page they must click two checkboxes, attesting that they have read both the Cache Listing Guidelines and Terms of Service and will abide by them.

This is what makes our game work - geocachers trust that the hider has done as promised and can assume that permission has been given.

If anything threatens our game it is caches hidden without permission.

What territory we have lost, and the issues we have today, are almost all directly attributable to the hider's failure to live up to this permision commitment.


Or does the placer have that responsibility? I went with the thought that it it was placed there it was OK to look for it, especally on the edge of a public parking lot.

Yes, you should be able to assume that listings have permision... the hider has stated that it does!


But I was informed by the owner and the police that there is no such thing as PUBLIC property, that that lot was for parking to go to the shops ONLY to and from the car, anything else was Trespassing

They're right! All property in the continental US is owned by someone.

All property managers set land use rules - be it a State Park, National Forest, cemetary, Wal-Mart or strip mall parking lot or city sidewalk, it's all owned and regulated.

Many people do not understand that there is no such thing as public land - only land designated for Public Use... a big difference! All Public Use lands, just like all private lands, have Land Use Rules... that's why parks have Rangers!

Private lands such as mall parking lots generally allow access only during specific hours for the specific purposes of servicing or doing business with the businesses there located. Private Security and Public Police enforce these policies.

Please, geocachers, file a Should Be Archived note anytime you have reason to believe that the hide does not meet the Guideline's permission requirement.

Ed

mountainborn
01-26-2006, 08:11 AM
>>>
There has to be more to the story.

releejr
01-26-2006, 08:51 AM
Actually it is about both. The officer in question did not know anything about Geocaching and to believe him, he had onlyuheard of GPSrs. Also none of the 10 or so people he called knew anything about Geocaching. Maybe it was just that shift of the Sherwood police, or maybe they just wanted to get an Arrest to meet a quota or maybe just make the owner happy.

But at the end of the all, they claim was that they had never heard of Geocaching. They called it some internet game that I was playing

NatureFish
01-26-2006, 09:19 AM
My point is that permission trumps education!

If the land manager had said "Yes, they have permission to put that there and others may look for it" the police would have had no issue.

Since you were arrested for trespassing it was most likely because the landowner chose to press that charge, not the police.

releejr
01-26-2006, 09:27 AM
You are completly correct there! Though I have my doublt about hime being the "land owner" it probably belongs more to the McDonnalds or the Shopping center, but in truth I am sure he wanted to dang sure I was not one of the guys stealing his stuff, so he wanted me arested just for being anywhere near his lot, even if I was taking a walk .....

BACKPACKNJACK
01-26-2006, 11:55 AM
When submitting a cache I send the land manager’s name and phone number to the reviewer and once placed I take and print pictures of that (each) actual cache container , print the cache page with cords as listed on GC, print pictures of the contents of each cache and give copies to the land manager/s (rangers, park personnel , etc.) plus to the local police. I also drop in or mail them updated print-ups of all the great comments cachers have posted about each cache. I don’t know why but I thought everyone was just as careful but will now think twice about the caches I visit.
I do this for fun, and being hauled off to jail is not my ideal of fun-on-the-run.
As for esidue, every cityu and state park, every parking lot, every used car lot, airplane, etc. will have residue and I don’t see all those people/owners/managers/etc going to jail.

Sorry you got caught up in someone else’s error.
The local police can go to the GC site and see where you did not own the cache nor did you cause anyone to trespass.

mountainborn
01-26-2006, 12:08 PM
>>>
Does your signature line mean:
>>>
Squib
A non-magic person born of wizarding parents, a much rarer phenomenon than a Muggle-born witch or wizard.
A Squib is not a Muggle. Born to a wizarding family, a Squib has such a low level of magical power that he or she is essentially unable to do any magic at all. However, while a Squib cannot cast spells, he or she can apparently see magical beings such as poltergeists, though not dementors (JKR).

Some Squibs seem to have formed special bonds with cats, whom they refer to as Mr or Mrs. It is possible that these cats function as guides and aides to Squibs as they live in a world in which they don't really fit. In a sense, these cats may be the wizarding equivalent of Guide Dogs and other animals which are trained to help Muggles with disabilities.

mountainborn
01-26-2006, 01:02 PM
>>>
I notice that the whole web site is oriented toward comunicating with the public they serve. They even have a "Citizens Academy ".
Loose talk about quotas and other gibberish only aggrevate a situation where I expect that there is actually more to the story.

releejr
01-26-2006, 01:10 PM
I notice that the whole web site is oriented toward comunicating with the public they serve. They even have a "Citizens Academy ".
Loose talk about quotas and other gibberish only aggrevate a situation where I expect that there is actually more to the story.

It is Cool that they say they want to communicate, but I have from several of the people that deal with the Sherwood police (Bail bond person and a few officals) that the police tend to be overly Zeelous and critical of any situation that is a real "Small town" mentality. So I am sorry if I believe the people and not the web site.

releejr
01-26-2006, 01:16 PM
BACKPACKNJACK ... I agree with your point of view, I always have assumed that it would be safe and proper to go to any published site.

One question: How do you know who to talk to for a Vacent unused lot? I have one placed (That I am considering removing for many reasons) But though I know it is unused properity there are several bussiness near it. Who would you all sudgest I notify/ask about it. In case I end up leaving it in place or return it to place some day?

NatureFish
01-26-2006, 01:55 PM
Every county maintains platt maps, open to citizenry, that show ownership of all land in the county.

BACKPACKNJACK
01-26-2006, 02:28 PM
Who owns a piece of land is no secret and is public knowledge. I have gone to court houses, to county assessors, realtors, and abstract companies to find out about ownership when doing genealogy research and out in the country, even rural post offices and local stores. The city will know who is financially responsible for cleanup, taxes, etc. on a vacant lot. Some city and county workers do not know it is no secret who owns a piece of land so may hesitate to cooperate but lack of knowledge is most often just that…lack of knowledge, and not malicious intent, to mess with your quest. Physical description (location) then the county court house if all else (your short cuts) fail. Good luck to ya!

PS. There are lots of caches that I have stopped on or refused to look for because I thought IF I was watching some big old hairy man like me coming through the woods towards the back of a house, walking around a playground, walking back and forth in a parking lot, standing in the bushes just off of a walking/jogging trail, in someone’s yard, and lots more places, I would think twice. I try to use stealth when caching by carrying a walking cane, camera, trash bag with some aluminum cans in it, etc so even though I assume the cache owner has permission I don’t want to mess things up by looking suspicious to muggles. I stopped by a cache in Las Vegas at least 8 times before I would look for it and another one more then 10 times but gave up because of muggles.

NatureFish
01-26-2006, 02:36 PM
Here are the details:


What happened is this .....

I arrived at the parking lot of the Indian Head Shopping center around 6pm.
There was a lady eating in her car near where the Cache was so I waited a
bit, then I decided to just look at the carving and see if I could get a
better idea where it was so I took my GPS and walked to the Carving then
around the edge of the parking lot toward the tree the cache was in. I them
checked and saw the lady was looking somewhere else so I quick checked the
tree and snagged the container. As I stood up a man from behind me ask what
I was doing around here. At first I just said I was looking around, and he
got insistant so I started explaining what Geocaching was. He had never
heard of it, in the talk I learned he was the owner of the Gas station that
backs up to the parking lot and recently he had been having trouble with
people damaging and stealing Cars and Trailer from his lot (he also rents
cars), so he has been watching his security camera real close and when he
saw me creeping around on HIS property he came out to check.

Anyway, I showed him the cache and the paper inside (the log and Geocaching
explaination) and talked some more, at which point he decided he was going
to call the police. Sherwood sent a car out, of course the officer and no
one he called had a clue what Geocaching was. When he looked at the
container, he quickly ask me if I knew what had been in this. I told him,
not really I just found it and opened it and all that was in it was the
paper that the owner now had. He looked at it (Glanced at it) and ask me
all about GeoCaching. How many others out there are doing this? How many
other of these things are there here in Sherwood? I did not really have a
answer for either question. He claimed there was a white resdue in the
container (I have no clue if there was or not, I never got a chance to look
at it)
After a bit of talk .. and Many phone calls, patting me down, checking
everything I had, more calls he walked me to his car and proceeded to
handcuff and arrest me.

The final charge was Criminal Trespassing and possition of Criminal materals
(I assume the cache)

I hope that is eplaination enough.

His court date is February 14th.

I believe that if I were the cache owner I would appear in court to explain that I placed the cache and he innocently came to find it.

Ed

mountainborn
01-26-2006, 03:32 PM
When I think about the cachers that post here and all of the tens of thousands of caches they have found, it makes me wonder why there are no other horror stories about the Police arresting geocachers.
I still think there is more to this . . . . . .

Rusty_da_dog
01-26-2006, 05:23 PM
When I think about the cachers that post here and all of the tens of thousands of caches they have found, it makes me wonder why there are no other horror stories about the Police arresting geocachers.
I still think there is more to this . . . . . .

I would have to agree with Mountainborn on this one. I have had visits with law enforcement from the mountains of North Carolina, Baton Rouge, LA, and in my own backyard in Ft. Smith. I have ALWAYS been able to visit with the officer or officers explain to them what I am doing and they are pretty much fine with it. I was told in Baton Rouge that there were a couple of people who had called in on me for acting suspicious, and for having Arkansas licenses plates on my car, they told me there had been drug activity in the park recently. I told them being from out of state just visiting that I had no idea, they ran my drivers license, and told me to do a little more research before I went looking for these "boxes" even if they are in public parks, and they told me that even with no hours posted that the park had been closed for sometime, but as I said once I talked to them and they checked me out, I was free to go one of the officers even thought it was an interesting game, just not in that particular park in Baton Rouge.

There has to be as Paul Harvey would say "The Rest Of The Story"

I will go back to my lurking now.
Cya on the trails,
Rusty

releejr
01-26-2006, 07:04 PM
>>>
Does your signature line mean:
>>>
Squib
A non-magic person born of wizarding parents, a much rarer phenomenon than a Muggle-born witch or wizard.
A Squib is not a Muggle. Born to a wizarding family, a Squib has such a low level of magical power that he or she is essentially unable to do any magic at all. However, while a Squib cannot cast spells, he or she can apparently see magical beings such as poltergeists, though not dementors (JKR).

Some Squibs seem to have formed special bonds with cats, whom they refer to as Mr or Mrs. It is possible that these cats function as guides and aides to Squibs as they live in a world in which they don't really fit. In a sense, these cats may be the wizarding equivalent of Guide Dogs and other animals which are trained to help Muggles with disabilities.

Yeah that is what it means ... it refers to my most early attempts at this Geocaching ... 1 find and 15 DNF (non of which I logged because so many others were finding the itemd). It was a joke at myself saying I know the Magic, I was born to the magic ... I just can't seem to make it work.

releejr
01-26-2006, 07:15 PM
Finally.... I feel there is probably much more to the story. In the end I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Ignore my warning, if you wish, and I wish all the best to you all and I pray no one else has any problems.

The long and the short is; I was seen geocaching behind the lot of a person that has had problem with people sneaking on that lot and doing damage. Though I did my best to explain and show both the owner and the police the cache and the paper telling about geocaching, neither knew what geocaching was and neither really cared to find out. It was all very calm and plesent discussion that did not have me worried until the handcuff went on, then I did not know what to do so I did nothing. And now I am out on a medium sized bond with a Criminal trial before me and on my record.

Believe what you want of me and my activities. The fact is simple I tried to do the right thing and explain things, and I am being Burned for it. I just thought you folks should know ......

Gener_Lee ...... Signing off ....

Team_Pink
01-26-2006, 08:32 PM
If you give me the phone number to the Sherwood police, I can give them some statistics on Geocaching and while I'm at it, I'll ask them what can I expect if I come to their town to spend money and hunt geocaches. I frequently need to purchase gas and food when participating in this sport and occassionally may purchase a back pack, some swag, and in a unbelieveably bad scenerio, a GPS. Don't get me wrong, I agree permission is priority one, but ignorance is no excuse for the perceived behavior of these officers. I believe in the same situation, I could have had a positive rapport with the officers by using printouts of other caches, caches stored in my GPS and PDA, a back pack with Happy Meal toys, and a big smile.

Maybe we should all call?

01-26-2006, 08:37 PM
Well we already have the answer from the GC rules point of view, but now for a legal view....

I'm not a lawyer mind you, but I do have two lawyers and a cop in the family who've I've talked to. (Not from Sherwood...I'd be embarrassed if they were)

It is true what Naturefish said that there is no such thing as "public property", however there is such a thing as land that is open to public use and by the nature of a retail business, their property is "in public use."

Obviously they can post "do not enter" "employees only" and even "no trespassing" signs in areas they don't want people to be, but unless they have POSTED rules against being in an area or have issued a persona non gratis (person not welcome) to a particular person then there is no way to make a trespassing charge stick.

The mall-walkers that show up at the mall hours before the first store opens and do laps around the mall are obviously not there to "shop and leave" so that kind of argument is bogus.

Furthermore from what you explained happening, the officer exceeded his authority. CRIMINAL trespass would have to involve some sort of vandalism, violation of posted signs, violation of a written order specifically baring you from the property, or refusal to leave when asked.

As for the so-called residue I doubt very much that topkitty used an old crack-pipe for a cache container so there is nothing there for them to find.

It sounds to me like the cop was A)Having a bad day and you were his victim B)On a powertrip and you were his victim C)Was behind on his arrest quota for the month and you were his victim. (They say they don't have ticket/arrest quotas, but they do...the dept. my family member works for calls them "citizen contacts")

Now on the other foot....Sherwood may have some city ordinance I'm not aware of that they are trying to charge you under, Loitering or curfew for instance, but that isn't what they charged you with.

And here is another thing that most people aren't aware of...although as they say, “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” there is a judicial requirement for the law to be something that a "reasonable man" can understand. "Trespassing" is a store parking lot isn't something a "reasonable man" would believe is possible.

Frankly, in my opinion, Sherwood doesn't have a case and a good lawyer might even be able to get you damages in the amount of your bail and court costs.

NatureFish
01-26-2006, 09:26 PM
Just be careful where you get legal advice - I have a cousin that's a porn star, but it doesn't help me any! 8O

Geezer_Veazey
01-26-2006, 09:33 PM
Does anyone know if there is a way to know for sure whether or not the land owner pressed charges?

If it was the Sherwood Police with their "home turf" mentality, be aware that a judge is just a human and may have a "home turf" mentality himself. You may have to go through an appeals process to have justice.

In the interest of the greater good for all geocachers, it may be wise for all geocachers to give a dollar or two toward an attorney's fee in this case.

topkitty98
01-26-2006, 09:38 PM
Hello, this is topkitty98, owner of the ARCHIVED cache in question. I have not been on the forums, nor checked my email in a few days so was only aware of the problem today when I was between jobs with time only to do some archiving.

The cache I placed was in a tree, edge of a parking lot of a strip mall. The gas station is up a small hill, the cache tree is close to the lot, general area of McDonalds. I had NO clue that it was anything other than public land. I was not aware there was no such thing as public land. I got no permission due to the fact that I thought it was public.

The container in question was a floatable key holder bought at WalMart, covered in camo tape with a log inside. I think I used one that I had previously used at another site.

I have archived the other 4 caches I had access to in the Sherwood city limits - I was not the original owner of them, I adopted them when the owner moved away and asked me to adopt. I never thought of asking him if he had permission. All 4 of them are/were in parks. Oddly enough, one is DIRECTLY BEHIND THE POLICE STATION. When it was not yet my adopted cache, I hunted it during their "National Night Out" in full view of several police officers.

I have privately emailed R E Lee and now publicly apologize profusely. There are no words adequate enough to tell him how bad I feel about this. I am so sorry and never intended to do anything that would cause anyone to be jeopardized or their honor or dignity to be questioned.

Parks and Recreation in Jacksonville originally gave bebopishere and family permission to place. I am a landowner at "Namesakes are Forever". I do have 4 micros placed at Civil War sites. Where do I get permission for those?

I am sorry for putting him in this position.

This is no longer fun.

topkitty98
aka Beth

BACKPACKNJACK
01-26-2006, 10:11 PM
And here is another thing that most people aren't aware of...although as they say, “ignorance of the law is no excuse,” there is a judicial requirement for the law to be something that a "reasonable man" can understand. "Trespassing" is a store parking lot isn't something a "reasonable man" would believe is possible.

I was explaining this story to my brother, a new cacher, and used this same argument. Although be it called “Prudent man” or “Reasonable man” it amounts to the same thing and it would be a reasonable man who assumed if you stopped at a monument that you would not be trespassing because it is placed and designed to attract. The same would apply to rest stops, malls, service stations, play grounds, boat ramps, etc. There is no way you could check to see if it was OK with the actual owner each time you stepped out of your car in what a prudent man would have a reason to believe is a public area unless posted as a no trespass.
If you don’t see possible truth in the poster’s story then you don’t know one thing about the money making machine that is the Sherwood police department. No, you are wrong, I have not been in trouble there but I have helped pay fines and bail for others and once my mother came with me and they were going to put her in jail saying she was lying about not having a driver’s licenses and would not except all her other ID that said she was not the person on the ticket we came to pay. I stopped doing work in Sherwood years ago and seldom EVER even drive through there.
And before I say goodnight and start packing cheese for the mouse, here is a big old bear hug for both the hider and the seeker. Good night.

NatureFish
01-26-2006, 10:33 PM
I am sorry for putting him in this position.

This is no longer fun.

It is unfortunate, yes, but the game is still fun and I hope this doesn't spoil it for anyone.

It's kinda like driving over the speed limit - most do it, all know it's illegal, all know there's a chance they may get busted - just in this case it's someone else that has to pay the ticket.

It's a dichotomy and an unfortunate part of the game - as a Reviewer I believe most caches have permission because my hiders so state when listing the hide - but as a reasonable geocaching individual I know that most in fact do not.

mountainborn
01-27-2006, 05:22 AM
There is a whole lot of over reaction going on here.
I don't think that TopKitty has done anything wrong.
And so far as the police involvement is concerned, I hear only complaining because they were doing their job.
We pay the Police to check on suspicious activity, now we complain because they are doing just that ?
When the officer arrived he no doubt asked for an explination of the activity.
Since there are no abundance of police arrests for geocaching, I expect that police readily accept geocaching as ok.
Once again, there must be more to the story.

Team_Pink
01-27-2006, 06:55 AM
Ok, two thoughts but ...

1. Maybe someone could draw up a form similar to the Arkansas Parks permit that would be generic enough for use in any geocache situation that could serve as a record of permission given and make that form available in the resources download area of this site and the GC site.

2. Add to the guidelines that owner contact information MUST be in the contatiner. If topkitty's phone number had been in the cache, maybe a phone call would have helped a great deal?

mountainborn
01-27-2006, 07:18 AM
Tech_guy said:
2. Add to the guidelines that owner contact information MUST be in the contatiner. If topkitty's phone number had been in the cache, maybe a phone call would have helped a great deal?
>
Because of this topic we are discussing and other issues, example: bomb squads responding to suspicious containers, I put my name, cell phone number and web domain URL in each cache. The same information on the outside of the container is put on a geocaching label in permanent marker.
>
Police are supposed to check up on the suspicious in nature. Give them an investigative lead, like a phone number or a address ( physical or web ) and they will follow up on it every time.
>
When the police call you, it is simple to give them all the answers they need.
>
At that point the suspicious activity has ceased, and, unless the cache finder shows some attitude to investigators, the incident is revealed as a very cool high tech outdoors activity.
That is the time when the officer leaves because he is no doubt several calls behind already, more pressing issues await.

JRMoney
01-27-2006, 08:33 AM
I often hunt caches with my son Curtis, "zombieboy", who's ten. This past summer we had just found a cache in Fayetteville near a soccerfield, after signing the log we came out of the small grove of trees. We were heading back to the truck when a man, who said he was an off duty cop, asked me what I was doing. I told him we were geocahing and took him back to the cache to show him what it was all about. Curtis and I both have GPSr so the cop could tell everything was on the up and up. He said he was a little worried to see a man and a young boy come out of the woods near a public place.

Looking back on it I can see where he's coming from. There are a lot of sicko's out there and I do everything to protect my three sons from lowlifes like that. That was a real eye opener for me, and I'm a lot more careful now. It's just a matter of being and looking proper.

JRMoney

LadyEngineer
01-27-2006, 11:17 AM
I believe we all need to look at this event and reevaluate all of our own caches. I say this because I just resently archieved my NRCS Bug motel for this very reason. I had permission from the landowner to place the cache which was out side my office window and just down the street from the local police station. I had personally gone to the police and made them aware of it and all others that I had in Lonoke. I gave them exact locations, desciptions and my name and number plus the gc website so they could tell all of there officers about it. The state police and county police also come into that office so I was hopeing they would also become aware of what geocaching is.

In December an out of town cacher was almost arrested for hunting this cache and was not so happy that I had "in his opinion" lied on my cache page because I had put on there that the local police where aware of the cache. They were but apparently not the one that dragged him into the station.

I use to like placing caches because I love to read peoples logs and see where people come from to cache, now not so much. I had done all that I was suppose to get the cache out there and there was still issues. I don't know how Beth feels, but I do know how it felt when I read the post from the angry cacher to me.

The main lesson I see here is publicity. If we don't get our local police aware of what is happening with geocaching, more and more of us might be facing what releejr is facing.

I was born and raised in Sherwood and am very ashamed of how he was treated there. If you let me know the time of your hearing I'll try to be there for support.

releejr
01-27-2006, 02:55 PM
Several things.
Thank you everyone that has expressed support and concern over what happened to me. I really appreate it.
I understand from several comments that at least one of us see the things I have said as a cry for attention and general police bashing

I would like to address that second view directly here on the board. I hold not contempt or real anger at Sherwood or her police force, if I hold contempt for anyone it is the owner of the Exxon that insisted on calling the police after I kindly (as I could) explained Geocaching and offering to remove the Cache and have it archived so no one else would come here.

I admit I should have probably waited to post that first message, I was more upset than I should have been, but I honestly belived and still do that the few police persons I came in contact with felt Geocaching was just an excuse to cause problems. I admit my view of their word may have been a bit shaded by my irratation.

Today I have talked to a lawyer that deals with the Sherwood court very often, and he has sudgested that I allow him to talk to the courts and have the case shelved for 6 months to a year, and then if no further problems occur just dismiss it all together.

Now I do not need any opinions or advice on this course and I have not made up my mind what I am going to do, I am just letting the people that have ask me to keep them informed know what is happening ... the rest of you can ignore the comment all together.

In short, I will not be caching in Sherwood anymore, but I do not think that everyone should stop, after all it is a beautiful city and has much beauty that people should enjoy. I just hope that everyone will just be a bit more careful and aware (up to this point I would have never thought to check for securty cameras before considering to hunt a cache, but now I will)

I am sorry if I have upset anyone or drawn any of the fun from this sport from anyone, (Topkitty98 & Ladycacher you listening).

Take care and enjoy the weekend.

Gener_Lee ....

LadyEngineer
01-27-2006, 07:41 PM
For the record, I'm not upset at the police. I know several friends that are on the force and understand it from their point.

I was upset at my local station when I had gone to them and told them about it and a cacher still had problems, but in fairness, I went back over to the local office today. The assistant cheif and I talked about this at great length, he is all for geocaching, thinks it sounds like fun and has no problem with it as long as proper GC rules are followed because he has gone to the site since the incident with the out of town cacher (he happened to be the officer who didn't know). Plus, our behavior when we cache and when someone ask us about what we are doing says a lot too. If your looking like a hood and acting strange or not being very friendly back, he said that doesn't help the case. (releejr, not saying you did but he said the out of town cacher was not being very forthcoming with him.) He is going to work to get the county sheriffs, his city police officers and all the state police that come into the station aware of geocaching. I am going to help him with any of the things he has questions with. I also gave him this website so he can see who we arkansas cachers are and how we feel about geocaching and issues that we face. Like the fact that we are trying to work with the AGFC, that the state parks support us and that we sometimes make mistakes. I, too, believed like TK that a statue in a "public" parking area was public. Guess I'll think twice or three times before I think that again.

Anyway, the police aren't against us and we know this but we MUST make sure they are aware of us. Since I'm on the steering committee, I will start seeing about making some public information packets that we can print off and give to the local police. When I get them done, I will have Gaddiel or LongDogs post them in the download section.

01-27-2006, 08:06 PM
I'll have to agree with LE about police in general (family would BBQ me if I didn't, lol) but on the other hand I've been getting some odd feedback from multiple sources about the Sherwood force.

That might not be odd if I had meth-heads for freinds/family members, but it's not like these people to bad-mouth fellow officers.

For my part I think I'm just going to steer clear of Sherwood from now on. I prefer to feed my sales tax dollars back into my own town anyway.

I'll also see what I can do about getting the word out about geocaching among the dept's I have contacts in, so they at least know it isn't some made up excuse for casing a neighborhood.

AR_kayaker.

Team_Pink
01-28-2006, 05:42 AM
Lady Engineer, if you could make a form to be placed in a cache with owner signature and contact information and make it available for download too I think that would be great.

Just having a form would help me take that extra step to not only get permission but to also get a signature.

01-28-2006, 06:03 AM
I think if you start asking owners for a signature you're going to start getting less permissions. Just my opinion....

mountainborn
01-28-2006, 07:53 AM
I once was told by a prominent Arkansas Geocacher that they knew for a fact that it was easier to get a pound of forgiveness than to get an ounce of permission.
That is wisdom that is hard to argue with.
And, it works only if the geocacher is friendly and has no "chip" on their shoulder, or shows no "attitude' towards anyone who may ask what they are doing.
People will always wonder what you are doing, some will ask. Some will demand to know. Example: property owner, neighbor, police, ect..
Those who have a legitimate reason to ask will become more insistent at each request.
The cacher may well become more defensive at each request.
This escalation on each side can cause a good situation to go bad if anger enters the picture.
Remember you, the cacher, are the only one who knows what is going on and you set the tone, pace and demeanor ot this encounter.
Forgiveness will not be forthcoming if you let anger creep into your situation.
And since you are depending on a check mark in a box at a website to guarante your legitimacy at the location, common sence says "be diplomatic".
If you are in this situation and you are less than friendly and forthright, you may well be your own worst enemy.
It is your responsibility to dispell any wories that others may have about you being there.

Geezer_Veazey
01-28-2006, 02:49 PM
Very good advice from Mountainborn. It sounds to me like from previous encounters with non-geocacher types, the escalation had already occurred on the gas station owner's part. Sometimes you are just in the wrong place at the wrong time and no amount of good demeanor is sufficient.

As for the Sherwood police, they are probably not all bad. But going back over 20 years ago, I got caught up in their money-making machine. Sounds like they haven't changed much. I imagine that after they read this, I had better avoid Sherwood, myself.

releejr
01-28-2006, 03:10 PM
I once was told by a prominent Arkansas Geocacher that they knew for a fact that it was easier to get a pound of forgiveness than to get an ounce of permission.
That is wisdom that is hard to argue with.
And, it works only if the geocacher is friendly and has no "chip" on their shoulder, or shows no "attitude' towards anyone who may ask what they are doing.
People will always wonder what you are doing, some will ask. Some will demand to know. Example: property owner, neighbor, police, ect..
Those who have a legitimate reason to ask will become more insistent at each request.
The cacher may well become more defensive at each request.
This escalation on each side can cause a good situation to go bad if anger enters the picture.
Remember you, the cacher, are the only one who knows what is going on and you set the tone, pace and demeanor ot this encounter.
Forgiveness will not be forthcoming if you let anger creep into your situation.
And since you are depending on a check mark in a box at a website to guarante your legitimacy at the location, common sence says "be diplomatic".
If you are in this situation and you are less than friendly and forthright, you may well be your own worst enemy.
It is your responsibility to dispell any wories that others may have about you being there.

Mountainborn,
I know for a fact you do not like me or my posts, and I am sure that you believe I took the angry road here, and I admit at one time in my life I would have. I am 6' 2" and weigh 330lbs, I am easely 2 times the size that that Exxon owner. But, whether you believe me or not other than the FIRST excuse of "I am just wandering" (my lame attempt to protect the cache, at least that was what I was thinking at the time) I was quite calm and friendly and did my level best to explain Geocaching, granted I probably did a poor job of it. I still am fairly new to this and I am not exactly a people person, so I can readly believe that I might of done a poor job explaining, BUT I did not lose my temper or get a chip on my shoulder, until I got in the car to go home 3 hours later. So my fourm messages probably held more anger than they should have and for that I am sorry. I have tried for years to control my anger in all situations, since I first realized I sometimes get short with people.
I am very proud of myself and how I handled myself with the owner and the officer, and I am equally ashamed at the way some of my inital posts sounded

01-28-2006, 05:49 PM
No real need to apologise releejr, most people feel the need to vent after they've been screwed over. Especially after you've held it in during the stressful event.

AR_kayaker

Team_Pink
01-28-2006, 07:18 PM
I think if you start asking owners for a signature you're going to start getting less permissions. Just my opinion....

But it would be a clean cache!

SteveBrown
01-28-2006, 09:08 PM
I am sorry for putting him in this position.

This is no longer fun.

topkitty98
aka Beth
I cached Sherwood in December and saw no problem with topkitty98's caches or any other caches in sherwood. They were great caches like hundredes of other cities we have cached.

Jamie2
01-28-2006, 09:25 PM
Hello all, I lurk here occasionally and someone that knows I work in Sherwood alerted me to this thread. I must say that while this is unfortunate I am not totally surprised. I operate a business in Sherwood and have for 9 years now. I'm not all that surprised because my experience with the Sherwood police hasn't been all that positive.

That large parking lot is connected to more than a dozen business' and at any given time people can be seen sitting and eating in their cars as there are three restaurants right there around the parking lot. This is especially the case around lunch time. Now I understand that all property is owned by someone or some entity but all those people sitting in their cars in empty area's of that lot trying to enjoy their lunch are trespassing as well, no? I know they didn't go get someone's permission before they parked there. I suspect the only reason this poor guy was arrested is because the owner of the Exxon station has complained repeatedly because he's suffered repeated damage and theft to his property. The police probably felt like needed to take someone in. You know, make the Exxon station owner happy that he's getting results. It's either that or an attitude was taken with them which the OP has repeatedly stated he didn't do. But I could easily see them doing this even if the OP had been real nice about it. Again, my experience hasn't been positive.

What makes this ironic for me is that about 3-4 weeks ago I decided to look for the Sherwood cache that was right behind the police station at the train. I've only done 1 other in Sherwood but I'm usually too busy at work. I picked up some lunch and went to that little parking lot near the train. People were fishing at that little pond/stream there and others were walking around - it was active because it was pretty warm and real nice outside. After finishing off my lunch listening to Rush Limbaugh, I got out and started walking around the train. I guess I looked suspicious dressed in business clothes and holding a GPSr because a plain clothes COP pulled up and asked what I was doing. I explained it and showed him the GPSr. He had several questions for me making feal like a criminal. He said he had seen others here and wondered if it was more than just idle curiousity about the train. I half expected to be arrested because the attitude was shoot first ask questions later. He finally left and so did I. I haven't been back.

I have no love for Sherwood and just closed on a larger building off I-440 in NLR so I'll be moving in a few months. :D

Good luck to the OP. If you need support at a hearing, please let us know. I'll come and help if possible.

NatureFish
01-28-2006, 10:27 PM
Please focus on the important and controllable part here - a cacher was arrested for seeking a cache that was placed without permission.

We can't know about the cacher's attitude or demeanor, the gas station operators behavior, the police department and its officers' attitudes, what was, could have or should have been said or done - all that is useless speculation and totally beside the point - nice to talk about because it takes the focus off of a failing many of us share... we don't like to ask permission.

The cacher in this case has zero explaining to do, he does not need to justify or apologize for his actions - the fact is he got busted because he trusted that the hider had permission.

Let's focus on that and see if we can't learn from it - commit to the geocaching community that no one will ever go through this at one of your caches because they will all be hidden with permission!

Ed

nonnipoppy
01-29-2006, 06:26 AM
I feel for both the cacher and the hider in this situation.

Most of the time that we have been approached while caching the truth has served us well.

When caching at one time near Mountain Home with Golf of Golfnutz we needed to search for a cache that was at one end of a small bridge. Unfortunately there was a fishermuggle at the other end.

While poppy searched Golf talked to the muggle for distraction. He explained that we were playing a GAME based on the internet. It required a GPSr and we were searching for some coordinates. (true) He implied that they were written somewhere IF we had gotten the game information correct. (kinda true) I feel comfortable with this explanation and will use it if needed.

Acting as if we know what we are doing, but are unsure if we are in the correct location, is a great cover story. We would ask the approacher, quite innocently, if there was a problem. If that answer was affirmative we would depart immediately. Playing a bumbling fool is not that far from poppy's character anyway.

We have been afforded the opportunity to discuss what we are doing with 4 or 5 law enforcement officers while caching. Each one of them had an open attitude and was courteous. One in Russellville helped me look for a cache. We did not find it but we got his email addy and sent pics after we finally did located it.

We have cached in Sherwood and we will cache there again when we get the opportunity. We are not second guessing either one, we feel for BOTH the cacher and the cache owner in this situation.....poppy

Jamie2
01-29-2006, 07:12 AM
Let's focus on that and see if we can't learn from it - commit to the geocaching community that no one will ever go through this at one of your caches because they will all be hidden with permission!
Ed

Sorry to participate in useless speculation, Ed. I thought this was an open forum. I wasn't trying to distract from the requirement that permission be obtained. I was discussing what I know about that area.

So we should get something in writing from the owner, I assume? That's really the only way to do it, right? I mean there are several scenarios where verbal permission alone can fail. For example, property changes hands and the new owner may have no clue that the old owner gave special permission for a hidden cache to be placed on the property. How is the cache hidder supposed to know the property changed hands? And then what if the owner gives permission but then isn't around when someone gets picked up for criminal trespassing. And then what about large parking lots that cojoin multiple business's where the hidder gets permission from the property owner but perhaps one of the business manager's fails to get informed. That business manager calls the police .... I mean, you can go on and on.

Sure seems like each cache would need written permission within the cache and then I suppose the individual approving the cache should review the written form prior to approving it?

NatureFish
01-29-2006, 08:35 AM
From the Groundspeak Cache Listing Guidelines/Requirements published at http://www.geocaching.com/about/guidelines.aspx:


Off-limit (Physical) Caches

By submitting a cache listing, you assure us that you have adequate permission to hide your cache in the selected location. However, if we see a cache description that mentions ignoring "No Trespassing" signs (or any other obvious issues), your listing may be immediately archived.

Caches may be quickly archived if we see the following (which is not inclusive):

* Caches on land maintained by the U.S. National Park Service or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (National Wildlife Refuges)
* Caches that are buried. If a shovel, trowel or other “pointy” object is used to dig, whether in order to hide or to find the cache, then it is not appropriate.
* Caches that deface public or private property, whether a natural or man-made object, in order to provide a clue or a logging method.
* Caches placed on archaeological or historical sites. In most cases these areas are highly sensitive to the extra traffic that would be caused by vehicles and humans.
* Caches hidden in close proximity to active railroad tracks. In general we use a distance of 150 ft but your local area’s trespassing laws may be different. All local laws apply.
* Caches near or on military installations.
* Caches near or under public structures deemed potential or possible targets for terrorist attacks. These include but are not limited to highway bridges, dams, government buildings, elementary and secondary schools, and airports.

There may be some exceptions. If your cache fits within one of the above areas, please explain in notes to the reviewer section of the cache page. For example, if you are given permission to place a cache on private property, indicate it in the notes for the benefit of both the reviewer and people seeking out the cache.

In addition, there may be local regulations already in place for certain types of parks in your region (state parks, county preserves, etc.). There are many local caching organizations that would be able to help you out with those regulations. If your area does not have a local caching organization please contact your local reviewer for information on regulations. If you have complied with special regulations by obtaining a permit, please state this on your cache page or in a ‘note to the reviewer’.

If the Geocaching.com web site is contacted and informed that your cache has been placed inappropriately, your cache may be archived or disabled and you may be contacted with any information provided by the individual or organization who contacted us.

I am not here to tell you how to play your game, nor point fingers, accuse or excuse - my role is very straight-forward:

- If your listing meets our guidelines I publish it, if it doesn't I don't.

- If it does today but doesn't tomorrow I archive it.

Simple.

If I engage in conversations such as this with the community it is solely to help the game, not control, anger or inflame.

As far as speculation about the what-ifs, that's easy too - you are responsible 24/7 for your hides, are expected to maintain them and to know what's going on that may affect them.

If it has permission today but loses it tommorrow you will need to go fetch it. Not a lot of logic or debate required here.

The guideline excerpt quoted above, as Forest Gump said, is all I got to say about that.

Ed

walkingshadow
01-29-2006, 11:52 AM
I think we have an excellent opportunity here. We can take this negative and try to bring about a positive response. I have noticed there are two possible gatherings coming up, the campout and Grandkid has offered to get us a pavillion. We could use these to invite several people from the community to promote geocaching. We could give them an opportunity to meet geocachers and see what a great group of people we really are. I am thinking we could invite police and fed/state park representitives and could get an article in the paper. What do you think.


walkingshadow

LadyRedbug
01-29-2006, 01:24 PM
Since I usually cache alone, this story scares me. I would be absolutely devastated if approached and/or challenged by law enforcement officers, much less if I were handcuffed and hauled away. That said, I've always known it was a possibility -- not to be arrested, but to be questioned. I have seen a thread on the groundspeak forums that deals with cachers' experiences with law enforcement so it's certainly not uncommon.

As stated by others, this unfortunate event should serve to make us all more aware of our responsibilities in hiding caches and our approach to finding them. I'm with backpacknjack -- I won't search for one if I am at all uncomfortable with the surroundings. In fact, I stopped to look for this one on Thursday (1/26) afternoon before learning of this story. I felt a little strange, being in the wide open in such a public place, and when the cache didn't immediately reveal itself in the obvious hiding spot (already archived, but I didn't know) I returned to my car and left. I wasn't there over 2 minutes. Now I wonder if the Exxon station owner was watching me and if the police were on their way after me!!

I think some of the suggestions that have been made in this forum are excellent. Education about geocaching on a broad scale, and individual cacher's preparation for the inevitable times when you have to educate in the field, would go a long way toward gaining greater acceptance for our activities.

With regard to stories in the newspaper, there have been at least two in the Dem-Gaz, because that's where I first heard about geocaching. Maybe we could get our hands on reprints of those articles, or others from other newspapers and magazines, to carry along with us on our ventures. I keep a 3-ring binder in my backpack with printouts of cache listings on my to-do list, and as soon as I finish this post, I'm going to go add a section on what it is so I'll be prepared if I ever find myself having to explain it!

NatureFish, thanks for being a voice of reason.

Gener_Lee, sorry for your misfortune, and I hope it all turns out well for you.

TopKitty98, although we've never met, I feel like I've come to know you somewhat through your logs, and you seem like a great person. I hope this doesn't leave a bad taste in your mouth.

LadyRedbug

01-29-2006, 08:46 PM
Again Naturefish has stated the rules, and they are true, but I'm going to state reality which has truth of it's own.

Even having permission to hide a cache is no grantee that people looking for the cache aren't going to be stopped and questioned and yes even arrested if you get an overzealous police officer who is too stubborn (or stupid) to believe in geocaching.

Let's face it wandering around looking for little film canisters looks suspicious to anyone who doesn't know what is going on, especially if you are trying to be stealthy about it to keep muggles from seeing what is going on. Add to this that there are people out there, including some police officers, who get the idea in their head that "That guy looks suspicious" and the idea is stuck no matter how much polite explaining gets done and the same thing will still happen, even with permission.

Someone has suggested getting written permission and putting it in the cache. Does this help if you haven't found the cache before the police arrive? Does it help if the police think you made the whole thing up, including the permission slip?

Taking releejr's story at face value, which I do, the only thing owner permission would do in his case would be to win him his court case (maybe!) after he has already been arrested and is out the bail money and court fees, neither of which you get back, even if proven innocent.

Getting permission is mandatory under the GC rules I whole-heartedly advocate it.

On the other hand I also advocate thoroughly educating local law enforcement and staying clear of places that continue to have issues even after being educated.

AR_kayaker

Team_Pink
01-30-2006, 09:02 AM
I created a Google Alert with Geocaching as the only search term and almost got overwhelmed with articles.

Here are a couple of articles as related to law enforcement.

http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/01/17/geoc ... cution.ap/ (http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/01/17/geocaching.prosecution.ap/)

http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/ ... echnology/ (http://www.globetechnology.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20051215.gtscavengerdec15/BNStory/Technology/)

Registering a Geocache with the local police department don't sound like a bad idea. With the growing popularity of Geocaching and the current political situation, I think the sport is about to go through a growing pain stage.

releejr
01-30-2006, 11:55 AM
I think that natureifsh great job managing things and would like to thank him and others overall.

Permission is a key issue, but in most cases hard to lock down as has been mentioned already. I have recently come accross some relevent statutes that deal with the permission to enter property. I am not 100% sure how (or if it helps the issue, but I find it relevent to where I look to hide caches and where the one in question was.


A.C.A. 5-39-203, "Criminal trespass in or on a vehicle or structure" it
reads:

"(a) A person commits criminal trespass if he purposely enters or remains
unlawfully in or upon a vehicle or the premises of another person."


Of course if all rules stated by nature are followed a cacher going to a posted site should in 99% of cases be sure he/she is not purposely entering unlawfully. The hard question come in what is ment by "Enter or remain unlawfully"


A.C.A. 5-39-101, Definitions, section (4)
"Enter or remain unlawfully"

(4) "Enter or remain unlawfully" means to enter or remain in or upon
premises when not licensed or privileged to do so. A person who enters or remains in or upon premises that are at the time open to the public does so with license and privilege, regardless of his purpose, unless he defies a lawful order not to enter or remain personally communicated to him by theowner of the premises or some other person authorized by the owner.
A license or privilege to enter or remain in or upon premises only part of
which are open to the public is not a license or privilege to enter or
remain in a part of the premises not open to the public. A person who
enters or remains upon unimproved and apparently unused land not fenced or
otherwise enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders does so with
license and privilege unless notice not to enter or remain is personally
communicated to him by the owner or some person authorized by the owner, or
unless notice is given by posting in a conspicuous manner.


This does not stop a person from claiming a peice of undeveloped land that is not fenced or marked, but until the owner tells a person they are on their land they are not in the wrong. So my mistake was coming further on to his land and remaining while waiting for the police????

Anyway more stuff to think about.

Nature... I hope this is not off subjuct

BACKPACKNJACK
01-30-2006, 09:26 PM
OFFICIAL
GEOCACHE
PLEASE DO NOT DISTURB
This is an official game piece
Refer to GEOCACHING.com for details
Cache Name:_______________________
Contact Name:______________________
Contact Info:_______________________

Does this look familiar to anyone?


These stickers you place on caches have all the info listed above plus the GC logo and should suffice to identify a cache as a cache if the officer wants to actually know what is going on and ]u]the contact info is right there on the outside if they actually want to verify[/u]…..but nothing you place on a cache and nothing you say will stop an officer who just doesn’t care or who thinks everyone except a Police Officer is a “perp” or an officer who just thinks who cares, just let the lawyers and courts figure it out. It will not matter if you have printed cache pages, pages explaining caching or written permission slips or if you are polite and have a pocket full of trinkets or not. It is all up to them what they do with the power that is in their hands. Do you think the homeless people picking up aluminum cans are carrying permission slips from every land owner in the state? Do you believe police officers have NOT noticed them walking around in public areas looking for stuff and carrying sticks?

All police departments are not the same. Do you remember when 60 minutes came down and busted out a police department scam where they were confiscating gambling money and cars saying every one they stopped with cash (for casino play) was a suspected drug dealer and refused to give back their money or cars? Being stopped and questioned by the police does not mean you did something wrong, it is their job to question, just not to harass those engaged in lawful activity.

Get permission, place stickers on the outside and use good common sense in placement. Just because you went by the guidelines of someone who has never been in that area so could not anticipate every possible situation does not mean you used best judgment.

I’m probably wrong (I‘ve slept many times since then) but I think it was “Sticker Dude” who placed a template on here some where that had regular and micro stickers. G.C. sells these stickers but I advise you look closely at the shipping charges unless they have changed it, to mail you a slip of paper.

Gaddiel
01-31-2006, 06:54 AM
I think it was “Sticker Dude” who placed a template on here some where that had regular and micro stickers.

Those bumper sticker templates are here (http://www.arkgeocaching.org/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=getit&lid=8), in Word format.

Team_Pink
02-05-2006, 05:32 PM
Just had to post this link:

http://www.tmnews.com/articles/2006/02/ ... news15.txt (http://www.tmnews.com/articles/2006/02/05/sections/news/news15.txt)