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counterfeitfake

trailhead theft

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I went backpacking this weekend with a friend of mine, up to Rachel Lake near Snoqualmie Pass. When we got there we noticed a couple of cars with broken glass in the parking lot. Stupidly we didn't consider it very much.

 

When we got back to the car on Sunday we found the windows intact but that it had been rifled through. It looked like I had lost a bunch of CDs, and she had lost her purse, but she hadn't left anything in it. So, not disastrous.

 

Until she got home and realized her keys had been in the purse. And the thieves had used the key to break into her apartment. They made off with her computer, some electronics, jewelry, checks, credit cards... they withdrew $1000 dollars from an ATM down the street... I later realized that I had stupidly left my passport in the car...

 

Obviously, the moral is something you know already: don't leave anything of value in your car. I am still stunned by the persistence and industriousness of these fuckers, that they'd break into multiple cars at the same trailhead two nights in a row.

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Wow, those are some industrious baddies. :noway::tdown:

 

Scary to hear how far they'll go to capitalize on what they got from the initial heist. :o

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They've been known to do this at the airport too. They break in, take your registration (for the address) and your garage door opener, and since you're on a trip, they can take thier time cleaning you out. I never leave anything with my address on it in the car anymore when I have to leave it somewhere.

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I never thought about the address on the registration! Do you carry your registration with you? I am going to do this from now on. Thanks for the advice!

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Until she got home and realized her keys had been in the purse. And the thieves had used the key to break into her apartment. They made off with her computer, some electronics, jewelry, checks, credit cards...

 

I was also up at Rachel Lake this weekend (only thing good about backpacking in the rain is not climbing in the rain), and had a very similar experience. We left the doors unlocked and took everything of value in the car, seeing the damage to other cars in the parking lot (including bent door frames). However, we forget to take a key ring with keys to our other car, house, etc, which was the only thing stolen.

 

I was planning to rekey our locks, and it's a top priority after hearing your story. Out of state registration may have slowed them down a bit, but I'm certain our current address was somewhere in the car. Or maybe the industrious fuckers are driving halfway across the west in search of another haul...

 

I'm curious what you or others will do in the future if you arrive at a TH or crag parking lot and find signs of recent break-ins? Take everything and leave the car open? Park down the road and walk back up? Camp in the bushes in the parking lot with a tire iron and broken bottle in hand?

 

Also, who should we report the TH break-ins to? Any chance of getting the man to take some action?

 

 

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I made a copy of my registration, then blacked out my last name and address and keep this altered version in my car. I keep the original at home. I'd rather have to explain my reasoning to a cop (or a judge) than have happen what the OP describes.

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I'm suprised no one has ever caught and strung up any of these idiots on a pole as an example to the others. The thiefs/tweakers that is....

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Is it a general concensus among the wisest of the wise that doors should be left unlocked at trailheads? I still lock mine but never leave anything worth stealing.

 

Here's a bit of advice for all you CD-carrying hipsters: I copy all of my CD's and keep the originals at home, so all a thief would get would be about $5 in CD-R's.

 

And thanks, counterfeitfake, for posting all the unfortunate details so we can be informed of what's going on.

Edited by ClimbingPanther

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I was planning to rekey our locks, and it's a top priority after hearing your story.

 

Yeah. I would do it right now.

 

I'm curious what you or others will do in the future if you arrive at a TH or crag parking lot and find signs of recent break-ins? Take everything and leave the car open? Park down the road and walk back up?

 

Same thing I'm going to do when I don't see signs of break-ins- leave nothing worthwhile behind. Parking down the road would definitely not do any good. I guess I may or may not leave the car unlocked... they entered and exited my car without breaking anything, my alarm was on and must have gone off when they broke in but clearly didn't dissuade them.

 

Camp in the bushes in the parking lot with a tire iron and broken bottle in hand?

 

Seems like an appealing idea.

 

Also, who should we report the TH break-ins to? Any chance of getting the man to take some action?

 

Rachel Lake is in the Elum ranger district. I called yesterday and got an answering machine, I'm going to call again today. I'd encourage you and everyone else who got hit to do the same.

 

Cle Elum Ranger District

Okanogan and Wenatchee National Forests

803 West 2nd

Cle Elum, WA 98922

(509) 852-1100

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How did they get at the money without the PIN? Or did you give them that too?

 

They had access to her entire apartment and her computer for many hours. I'm sure you know what Occam's Razor is, so apply it.

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I never thought about the address on the registration! Do you carry your registration with you? I am going to do this from now on. Thanks for the advice!

 

I tend to think that without keys they wouldn't go after your home- why bother when there is easier prey right there? But I may still be a little naive...

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I've only gotten broken into once at a trailhead, and that was years ago. Must have been kids, since they took everything, including my socks and underwear. Not much in that car but cassettes and clothes to change into when I got back. Anyway...

 

The I-90 corridor is really convenient for tweakers. (Obvious statement of the year?) I'm just surprised there not a lot more going on at the Mout Si TH. There's a 197-car lot there! Cash in, tweakers!

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How did they get at the money without the PIN? Or did you give them that too?

 

PS: Don't be a jerk. We didn't give them anything, they stole it. I know you probably think you're too smart to make any of these mistakes but you're probably not. Don't mistake statistics for your own invulnerability.

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I never thought about the address on the registration! Do you carry your registration with you? I am going to do this from now on. Thanks for the advice!

 

I tend to think that without keys they wouldn't go after your home- why bother when there is easier prey right there? But I may still be a little naive...

 

They have your address from your registration, and your car sitting at the trailhead is like a big sign that says "I WILL BE AWAY FROM HOME FOR HOURS OR PERHAPS DAYS." They only have to get back to your house before you do to clean it out. No keys needed. They have your address, and hopefully noone else is home. Knock on the door - no answer - break in - help yourself. With a few cars at a trailhead, there's bound to be at least a couple that will produce a nice score.

 

How much do you have at home worth stealing? TV? Computer? Laptop? Climbing gear? Jewelry? Furniture? Electronics? Applicances? What else? How much time do they have while you're off climbing? For all you know, they could have even watched you park your car and head up the trail. If you had a sleeping bag and a tent and a thermarest pad on the back of your pack - even better! Plenty of time!

 

At exit 38 some people used to break into cars for credit card receipts. That was in the days before electronic scanners, when they always used those big plasic jobs to print mutiple copies of your credit card. People would break in, steal receipts, and steal the credit card numbers off of the receipts. Very resourceful, these tweakers.

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Especially with your garage door opener. They open it, back in, and close it. And spend the day calmly and methodically going through every inch of your house.

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Also, who should we report the TH break-ins to? Any chance of getting the man to take some action?

 

unfortunately, the most likely response is a ticket for not having your frickin parking pass properly displayed after the theieves stole it........

 

sorry to hear about this but thanks for the wakeup call.

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How did they get at the money without the PIN? Or did you give them that too?

 

PS: Don't be a jerk. We didn't give them anything, they stole it. I know you probably think you're too smart to make any of these mistakes but you're probably not. Don't mistake statistics for your own invulnerability.

I am sorry. I felt like a jerk by phrasing the way I did. When one gets the pin number from the bank, one should memorize the number and then burn the paper. Do not write or record the number anywhere for any reason. If you forget the number, you just get a new one. Your girlfriend obviously left a record somewhere.

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Camp in the bushes in the parking lot with a tire iron and broken bottle in hand?

 

Don't forget your zip ties. Nothing quite like spending the evening upright zipped to a tree.

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I remember this was even mentioned somewhere in The Complete Walker. Colin Fletcher talked about traihead theft, and how someone could just sit there with a pack "waiting for a freind", and clean out your car while you're gone. This was 40 years ago...

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F*cking weak.

 

If I ever see cars broken in to at the TH, I might cancel my trip and camp in the woods nearby instead.

 

with a pipe.

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