PDA

View Full Version : NH trailhead vandalism



carole
11-27-2004, 06:43 PM
passed by Nineteen Mile Brook trailhead this morning and saw what looked like broken windows. News tonite confirmed it. Very sad!! WMUR report (http://www.thewmurchannel.com/news/3952160/detail.html)

Orphic Seth
11-27-2004, 07:50 PM
Pfff, that's too bad. What a great way to ruin a weekend in the woods. If that ever happened to my car, man, I'd go totally ape. Chances of actually catching people like this is what, slim? When my mother's car got hit like this, it was a non-event for the police (understandably so, I think). Maybe others disagree.

Just goes to show, don't leave expensive gear in the car when you decide you don't need it... and to think of the times I've left my wallet in the glovebox up at those trailheads...

Sherpa John
11-27-2004, 10:25 PM
Should always keep your wallet on you fr identification in case anything unfortunate happened to you... I suppose you could also just carry your license. Ho Hum.. DAMN VANDALS!

1ADAM12
11-28-2004, 06:58 AM
Yes this is to bad. I can remember when South Meadows, The Garden, and Roostercomb trailheads in the Adirondacks were hit pretty bad a few years ago. I actually remember reading some threads about it here on VFTT before the crash :(

Orphic Seth
11-28-2004, 09:49 AM
Should always keep your wallet on you fr identification in case anything unfortunate happened to you... I suppose you could also just carry your license. Ho Hum.. DAMN VANDALS!

License I keep, wallet stays (every ounce counts!).

Artex
11-28-2004, 10:11 AM
Hopefully they'll get nabbed. Have those digital cameras ready at the trailheads and get a picture of the vandal's license plate numbers. You never know when you'll stumble across them in the act. I realize the chances are slim, but hey, imagine the satisfaction of busting the scumbags!

bobmak
11-28-2004, 10:18 AM
My cars have been broken into twice over the years in the WMNF. 19 Mile Brook, Appalachia and Zealand have all been prime spots for break ins in the past.

Jay H
11-28-2004, 11:00 AM
I always keep my keys and wallets (even credit cards and cash) when I'm out hiking or backpacking.. I'm just used to it. I have friends who will stash their car keys under the tires and stuff like that but I usually just pack mine with them. I know if I ever wanted a ride, I could always count on my friend's keys under the tire! So far, I have managed to keep from playing a cruel joke though on him...

Jay

Remix
11-28-2004, 01:24 PM
This sucks. On the basis of this news, I am going to keep comprehensive insurance on my vehicle. But I'll have to stash some plastic sheets and duct tape for the ride home....

Do any of these people ever get caught?,,,,I mean has anyone ever seen anything in the local police blotter column?

Puma concolor
11-28-2004, 01:59 PM
Unfortunately, the solvability rate on this type of crime is relatively low - particularly if it is an isolated incident. With no witnesses, the police basically have nothing to go on. I've done a good deal of police work in both the Dacks and Catskills and have investigated a bunch of these in the past. Generally, I'll speak with anyone in the area when called out and then write down the plate numbers of cars in the lot and do my best to contact the owner. But the car owners are usually hikers who are deep in the woods when the crime occurs so UNLESS it is a bunch of kids who subsequently shoot their mouth off to the wrong person or you catch them in the act, you're generally out of luck. Prints aren't done for low level crime. So make sure your insurance is good and be sure to get a police case number.

Other suggestions would include writing down serial numbers for all your electronics equipment. We can enter serial numbers in a nationwide database so that if some cop in Montana pulls over someone and is suspicious about the 17 digital cameras in the backseat, the cop can do an "article" search on the suspected items. The only way it will get in the database is if you keep the numbers handy and provide them to the cop if your car or home is ever broken into. Also, never leave credit cards in your car. If you're out for a five day hike in the Pemi wilderness and have the card stolen on day one, the bad guy has a whole lot of time to charge a whole lot of stuff to your card. Of course, a lot of this is common sense but people who haven't been "hit" before generally don't think about crime in terms of prevention. And remember, cops aren't magicians ... we can only work with what we have.

And no, I don't know climber456. ;)

amstony
11-28-2004, 03:23 PM
Manchester Union Leader and the Globe New Hampshire edition had small columns on it. Apparently it was a pretty sizeable operation. Trailheads along Rt 2 and Pinkham Notch got hit.

I always carry my wallet and keys, and put my car papers into the trunk. I'd rather deal with carrying the extra weight than the nightmare of having to get your new license, credit cards, etc etc. :eek:

jade
11-28-2004, 05:40 PM
I hiked up the Roaring Brook Trail (Mt Greylock, Western MA) a week back.....there were a number of other cars in the parking area. When I returned, one of the vehicles had its back window smashed in. I took photos of it and the other cars. The saddest thing was that there was a child' car seat and toys in plain view and it had NY plates.

The local police didn't seem interested in following through with an investigation.... :(

afka_bob
11-29-2004, 07:42 AM
I always carry my wallet and keys... I'd rather deal with carrying the extra weight....

My wallet is, if anything, too light. :p

Mike P.
11-29-2004, 09:58 AM
Hey Bobmak, which lots did you get hit in? My initial thought is that lots close to the road offer easy quick targets for window smashing but too much traffic to rummage through cars looking for goodies, if they do that they may get caught sooner than later. Lots like the Rocky Branch lot off 16, Zealand & the others on USFS dirt roads offer greater privacy for piracy.

Stan
11-29-2004, 11:17 AM
By police standards this may be low level crime but when it happens to you it is pretty high level. I suggest we have the necessary ingredients here to attempt to do something about it.

First, we're all probably pissed off, even when it happens to someone else.
Second, we have a pretty diverse group of skills and imagination.
Third, we have a quick and comprehensive communication and data link right here at our fingertips.

It would be good to research some comprehensive facts in order to focus on the time(s) and place(s) these things usually happen. Then, having some measure of predictability, it would enable us to focus our energy and technical capacity on preventing and solving these acts and perhaps exacting retribution.

What say you with some technical and forensic skills and a little time to share?

Jaytrek57
11-29-2004, 11:51 AM
"They" got that knucklehead who has defacing AMC signs on trails. Heard it from some caretakers during the Flags event. They set up a sting with dummy signs.

If "they" can get him...a little work and you can get some people who are doing this. Seems to me if just one case gets prosecuted...it will send a message.

Also timing of this most recent case. Lots of people, esp. college kids, home for the holidays...just a thought.

Remix
11-29-2004, 02:33 PM
This is in response to Stan-

If somebody knows exactly what was stolen, I'd be willing to check out ebay.
Spend too much time on there anyhow, and not enough in the mountains or at the trailheads.

^MtnMike^
11-29-2004, 03:32 PM
This is really unfortunate. It could definitely ruin an otherwise great day/weekend of hiking. :(

Maybe the AMC would install a couple of security cameras in the Pinkham notch parking lot if demand from paying members was high enough?
Or are these incidents to far and few between to be considered "serious problems"?

^MtnMike^

charlos
11-29-2004, 07:45 PM
this type of stuff has happened at local trailheads around here too.
some people dont like this idea but leaving a door or two unlocked will save your windows.
using your spare tire compartment as a stash spot and covering it with the spare is another idea.

afka_bob
11-29-2004, 11:39 PM
Charlos,

Totally off-topic, but is that picture of you in Newfoundland?

Puma concolor
11-29-2004, 11:44 PM
Good suggestions, Roy ... except the embarassing the cops part. :o Also I wouldn't suggest leaving your doors unlocked. Yeah, you may help prevent some vandalism, but someone looking to steal your entire car is less likely to want to break a window to get in.

Maddy
11-30-2004, 09:05 AM
Did most vehicles that were broken into have very loud anti-theft alarms?
Do the thieves just disable them and carry on with their burglaries?
If all those cars had alarms, wouldn't that cause a tremendous amount of noise that could be heard for some distance??
My truck alarm makes an incredible amount of noise. If ten of those were sounding off at the same time you would think that someone might hear them.
Does Pinkham Notch Visitor Center ever have problems like this?
Just wondering if we are wasting our money installing alarms that are essentially useless.
Why don't the police try installing hidden cameras?
Frequent patrols witha canine officer wouldn't be a bad idea. Anyone hiding in the woods wouldn't be hiding long with bowser hot on the trail!!!
I had one of those in my yard recently at 3am and was very impressed at how diligent and committed "Officer Cito" was. There's nothing like a good nose to the ground to flush someone out.

carole
11-30-2004, 09:38 AM
There are numerous trailheads in Pinkham Notch nowhere in hearing distance of the Pinkham visitor’s center. A hidden camera at the visitor’s center wouldn’t help the cars at these other trailheads. I also think the enormous expense of having hidden cameras at all these (and other areas as Randolph area was hit also) wouldn’t make it feasible nor would it be possible to have them watched throughout the night. The windows I saw broken were at the Nineteen Mile Brook trailhead. Car alarms could be going off a long time before any one would hear them, say at 3 am (as could be said at many of the other trailheads).

KayakDan
11-30-2004, 10:00 AM
I thought the idea of leaving a door unlocked was a good one,until my wife,who is in the insurance business pointed out a problem. If you leave a vehicle unlocked and contents are stolen,and there is no sign of forced entry-you lose. Glass breakage,as inconvenient as it might be-usually has no deductible.
maybe the answer is a note in big letters on the window"unlocked-no wallet,cash or credit cards-please look but don't break!"
Chances are your car will a:be passed by or b:get searched and left alone. Worst case-they pop a window for spite-your insurance will cover it.
Maybe the AMC will consider running the hikers shuttle to the trailheads leading to the huts on a year round basis. If the situation gets worse,hut usage will drop off,and the AMC will lose some serious cash.

charlos
11-30-2004, 11:20 AM
yes bob, western newfoundland summer 2003.
my most memorable trip yet, have you been there?
spent a few weeks there touring and visiting relatives, if anyone needs info i have tons.


happy holidays!

amstony
11-30-2004, 11:26 AM
The cost of installing cameras's would be prohibitive for the concerned parties. You would need a microwave relay camera system and a 24 hour staffed post by a police department or security company to watch the cameras. Installing a camera and not having it observed or installing "fake or dummy" cameras incurs huge liability for whoever is responsible. Not only that but there are allot of jurisdictions involved depending on the location of the trailhead- US Forest Service, State Police, local police, and probably others we aren't aware of. K-9's are awesome but also very expensive to train and maintain, and I doubt there are many available in the small PD's up north.

^MtnMike^
11-30-2004, 11:51 AM
The cost of installing cameras's would be prohibitive for the concerned parties. You would need a microwave relay camera system and a 24 hour staffed post by a police department or security company to watch the cameras.

I was thinking of something more low-tech. Like a local camera system wired to a simple tape recording device. The cameras wouldn't be monitored at all, but if someone came back to thier car and it had been vandalized a review of the tape might be helpful in catching the offender.

Since the equipment would be stored at the site, it would probably only be usefull for a "developed" trailhead like Pinkham Notch or the Cog lot.

^MtnMike^

RickM
11-30-2004, 05:11 PM
My brother lives in Albuquerque, NM and says trailhead vandalism is a big problem there. He knows people who have returned to their car to find all of their wheels stolen. He said some people leave their window open with a bottle of booze on the seat as a "pay off" hoping the culprit will otherwise leave the car alone.

ken
11-30-2004, 08:08 PM
i only saw one break-in that happened while i was in the woods, and it had both passenger windows broken out... it was a local (n.h. plates) while the trailhead had n.y., ma. & ct. cars all parked there (ones that would probably have more stuff stashed in them) - i wonder what was in that guys pickup truck in plain view? - - - i have seen many parking lots with "diamonds" laying all over the place - after i see the "diamonds" i try to park someplace else if i had someplace else i could climb instead, but sometimes you have to park there to get to that peak - you just have to hope... - - - - while talking to a jackson police officer at a trailhead that had glass, he told me that they caught the guys the week before... so some do end up getting caught - the state police, sheriff's deputies and town police do make occasional runs into the trailheads overnight, i have seen them while staying in my car - i have also seen the WMNF "parking lot attendents" out at night checking stickers and chasing anyone sleeping in thier car, so there is a slim chance of someone getting caught once in awhile - but even if it stops it don't take long before someone else (or the same ones) start doing it again.

bobmak
11-30-2004, 10:56 PM
Hey Bobmak, which lots did you get hit in? My initial thought is that lots close to the road offer easy quick targets for window smashing but too much traffic to rummage through cars looking for goodies, if they do that they may get caught sooner than later. Lots like the Rocky Branch lot off 16, Zealand & the others on USFS dirt roads offer greater privacy for piracy.

My car has been broken into at both 19 mile brook and Zealand, both in the winter. My ex's car was broken into at 19 mile brook as well, but in the fall. Sad part on hers was it was a Saturn. She left the window down a little and they tried to it open, in the process they broke the plastic on the door. Mass. insurance covers glass, but the door damage ate the entire $500 deductable. Her car had nothing in it. In my break ins, at 19 Mile they took 2 bags that contained mine and my hiking partner's clean clothes for the ride home along with a box of cassettes. At Zealand, the car was empty.

afka_bob
12-01-2004, 08:39 AM
yes bob, western newfoundland summer 2003.
my most memorable trip yet, have you been there?
spent a few weeks there touring and visiting relatives, if anyone needs info i have tons.


happy holidays!

Charlos,

I believe I have been in that exact spot -- if I remember, that cleft over your left shoulder is at the top of a very impressive waterfall down the side of the plateau you are on, and the view of the Bay of Isles from there is spectacular.

A friend and I lunched on canned sardines up there in 1983. We hitched from Boston to the ferry at Bar Harbor and then the length of Nova Scotia and on to Newfoundland and back home through PEI, one of the best trips I’ve ever taken.

The next summer, my friend Dave (he posts here as “dave.m”) and I stopped here to see the waterfall on our way back from Labrador.

I really have to get back there some day. Thanks for the memory jog!

charlos
12-01-2004, 11:09 AM
wow bob, must be the spot!now im getting all excited.

on the way back to the road there was an impressive yet startlingly cold swimming hole which all the newfoundlanders were jumping into like it was nothing..yikes.

really must get back there, never made it to labrador instead we headed over to the east coast.

thanks for the memory jog as well.

happy holidays

ken
12-01-2004, 01:15 PM
on the way back to the road there was an impressive yet startlingly cold swimming hole which all the newfoundlanders were jumping into like it was nothing..yikes.if you think the rivers & streams are cold up there... try the ocean (even colder) - i can't even remember seeing anyone in the water at the ocean or bays while i was up there (probably like swimming in a glass of iced tea with all those iceburgs that are even there in july & august).

charlos
12-01-2004, 08:15 PM
when we were heading back to port au basques we stopped at cheeseman provincial park, it was august there were swimmers, sunbathers etc, me and my wife were wearing fleeces!

ken
12-01-2004, 10:13 PM
sunbathers etc, me and my wife were wearing fleeces!i know - but when it is in the ninety degree range down here it is in the sixties up there (nice) - while i was up there my kids did swim in the lakes... but in the saltwater, they wouldn't go past thier knees - beautiful place though (at least in the summer... i wonder what the winter is like up there?).

Maddy
12-02-2004, 02:05 AM
I just posted this on the AMC boards. A few years ago we had a vandalism problem at a local mall. A few people started leaving some very special gift items for the thieves. These included road kill and another substance which I won't describe here. Need I say that the thievery ended rather abruptly.
Hikers could package some very attractive and appealing gifts for our friends, the vandals. We would have to be a little cautious so as not to smell up our vehicles too much. One could leave an old camera/wallet on the seat with some nice slimmy, stinky material on it. Preferably something truly foul. Folks who know a little about wiring could set a a nice little shock system for our buddies. We could bake nice chocolate brownies, full of X-Lax , nicely packaged, or some muffins containing a hefty dose of Ipecac so they could spend the day vomiting their guts out. We could place something appealing on the front seat but have it covered with a sticky substance so that when they touch it, there fingers would adhere to it.
There is nothing like a nice gift box with wrapping and bow containing a dead skunk wrapped in plastic and lots of colorful tissue paper. The list is endless.
We shouldn't be victims to these people. It's time to seek revenge. Who wants to spend their day hiking wondering what condition their vehicle will be in when they return. I think if we put our minds together we could think of any number of good solid deterrents to help solve our problem and give us some peace of mind. If they are going to vandalize our cars, we may as well give them a run for their money.

afka_bob
12-02-2004, 06:13 AM
Who leaves their car in the mall parking lot for an entire long weekend for the duped or stricken vandals to come back and wreak their own vengeance? The mall parking has a bit more security surveillance and presence, more traffic, and less long-term parking. Without those things, why would a vandal (who has already demonstrated his or her unscrupulousness) upon discovering the gift-wrapped roadkill's or ex-lax brownies' true nature, not return to slash my tires, torch my car, etc.?

Other than that, a brilliant plan.

Stan
12-02-2004, 08:42 AM
I like Maddy's imagination. How about a "pre-reported as stolen" credit card?

Mark
12-02-2004, 09:48 AM
There is nothing like a nice gift box with wrapping and bow containing a dead skunk wrapped in plastic and lots of colorful tissue paper.It sounds like these vandals have plenty of time and privacy to go through a parking lot full of cars. Do you want to take the chance that they open your "gift" before they grab it and discover your plan? I bet they would come up with some creative ways of using the dead skunk on your vehicle.


Folks who know a little about wiring could set a a nice little shock system for our buddies. We could bake nice chocolate brownies, full of X-Lax , nicely packaged, or some muffins containing a hefty dose of Ipecac so they could spend the day vomiting their guts out.I'm not sure if this is a law or urban legend, but setting up a trap to physically hurt vandals might give them the right to sue you. That would suck. A shock system is a guaranteed way to make sure that after they break into your vehicle, they will proceed to thoroughly trash it. Not a good plan.

giggy
12-02-2004, 09:53 AM
yea - tough situation and it really sucks that this stuff happens. This is going to turn into a rant - but its is needed. I guess it was only a matter of time. I go to the whites to get away from this crap. Damn it if I could find work - I would live up there - but I am confined to massachusetts where this crap is the norm and from what I can tell more or less tolerated. It is disagracefull that this type of behavoir is just simply tolerated now. While these punks really need to be taught a lesson and I am all for doing it. Tough to do when your 4000 ft up the mountain. Tough to do when your worried about having somehting that will drive you home after a long day or weekend. My biggest fear in climbing was always coming back to a car that wouldn't start or a flat tire. Now people are resorting pleasing these scumbags so that not to harm them more and if you want to drive home that seems like the thing to do. Lesser of 2 evils really. What the hell is country coming to. Ok - enough of that.

Maddy
12-02-2004, 10:00 AM
I like Maddy's imagination. How about a "pre-reported as stolen" credit card?
NEAT IDEA!!!
It's is incredible to think that this was going on in a mall parking lot and with "added security". How it got into the newspaper was the thief was finally caught carrying his brown bag full of " use you imagination"!
You don't even want to know what has gone on in our hospital parking lot with a full time police department. A big part of the problem is that the cops are invisible where I work. We go out late at night and never see a soul!
I did think of vandals seeking revenge for the ex-lax brownies, etc. At least it would keep them "out of work" for a day of so. They might not even figure it out right away.
I remember reading about small cameras you can get for your property that would video anyone trespassing. They wouldn't have to be a really sophisticated or expensive. I can't believe that in this day of technology we don't have something that could record activities in a small parking area.
I think a big part of the problem is we allow them to do this and get away with it. We are more afraid of them than they are of us. They have the edge and they know it.
I had problems with teens on my property and they were starting to commit acts of destruction. I thought the same thing. If I make trouble, it will be even worse. I opted to give them major grief. They were in tears as the police arrived and I wasted no time showing these little creeps how very large my dogs teeth were. They sobbed in my driveway for some time. Suddenly the bullies were having a change of heart . They were none to happy when I requested that the police notify their parents immediately of their undesirable behavior. End of problem. These were not small kids.
IF we can use aversive conditioning on bears, why not humans???

afka_bob
12-02-2004, 10:18 AM
Maddy,

Vandals on your property where you can wait for them. Big difference from trailhead parking circumstances. Now, if you want to wait in your car trunk at the trailhead w/big dog, well, go for it.

Little video camera could work in the daytime, and if it doesn't get destroyed or stolen, but what if theives strike in the dark?

Stolen credit cards are often sold anonymously -- you might get a stupid criminal, but probably not the one who smashed your car window (who still profits and can strike again).

It's a tough problem, but anything short of a physical presence by law enforcement or car-owners has a very small chance of success or even could make the situation worse.

the starchild
12-02-2004, 11:24 AM
hello,

when i was backpacking the weekend and week before thanksgiving, there were 2 break-ins at the 19milebrook trailhead. 2 hikers saw the damage the day before(they were doing dayhikes and staying at joe dodge lodge) told me and offered to follow me to pinkham to park and give me a ride back to the 19mile trailhead. real nice guys, love the people in the backcountry. after our trip we easily hitched a ride back to the car 4 days later, no worries.

this really sucks.

my girlfriend's car was broken into at my house months ago, and last month my jeep was stolen...recovered a week later. we were super paranoid about parking on this trip with all this in the back of our minds and the warning of break-ins.

i agree leaving special gifts and shockers are a bad idea, unless you kill the thief, otherwise your ride will suffer as they pay back the favor

hikerfast
12-03-2004, 10:35 PM
vote for people who put judges on the bench who pass out maximum sentences. talk wont do anything. results are the bottom line.

alpinista
12-04-2004, 06:04 AM
Starchild: I see you live in Hartford -- which means I could instantly empathize. I grew up there and lived there for about 10 years as an adult, and in that time, I was burglarized three times and had my cars broken into about a dozen times -- including once when it was parked at the state Capitol and seven Capitol cops were on duty. That place is horrendous for thievery (the city, not the Capitol, though that is a debatable!) ;)

BeninVA
12-06-2004, 10:53 AM
This seems to be more of common trend, unfortunately. On the AT when it crosses from VA to WV the parking area there had frequent problems with break ins with cars, but then it was taken to another level and these freaking punks were torching the cars.

I am just disgusted by this whole trend and these punks that ruin the back country experience for us. :mad:

carole
12-11-2004, 06:59 AM
Heard on the news (WMUR) this morning that one suspect in the trailhead breakins has been caught with more arrests soon to follow.

afka_bob
12-11-2004, 08:38 AM
On page A7 of today’s Union Leader:

“Gorham man charged in theft from vehicles

"Gorham – A local man was arrested Thursday after an investigation into a string of 17 car break-ins in the towns of Greens Grant and Randolph, near Mount Washington.

"Eric Roy, 19, is charged with two counts of theft by unauthorized taking, though state police said more charges are pending.

"Police said Roy, three other men and two underage girls are suspects in the break-ins, which happened early Nov. 27 at trailheads for the White Mountain National Forest.

"Police said the break-ins involves thousands of dollars of damage to vehicles. All but one had items stolen from it, including clothing, hiking gear, wallets, credit cards, music CDs, jewelry and money.

"Anyone with information is asked to contact State Police Troop F at 846-3333.”

*sigh* I already take my wallet when I leave the car. Now it looks like I’ll have to hike with my diamond tiara as well.

WildPeaks
12-11-2004, 01:58 PM
That's great they caught someone. But the question is, this kid is 19?, who was the jerk/s that did it back in the early 80's at the Appalachia parking lot off rt. 2? You have to ask. is it a family deal or a well known easy pluck by the locals?? Maybe not, but never had any problems in any other parking area, ever. So I was supprised to see the post, reminding me of that one incident. Was at that parking area last Sat. for the first time since then & someone pointed out broken glass. The police back then seemed like they really didn't care & said don't keep your hopes too high at us getting anything back. THANKS! Was told there is a little political garbage over who's problem it is. WMNF, local police, state police, etc. etc. as mentioned above. Another THANKS! If it is hit so much, it wouldn't take too much to catch more of them. I know, one man from each agency & give them all the glory in the paper! :eek:
Tom

peakbagger
12-16-2004, 08:49 PM
Three more arrested for the break ins, one 19 year old from Gorham, two juveniles from Berlin. The news report on NHPR today reported that a large amount of the stolen items were recovered. Now the question is, do any one one of the these individuals have any money to cover the damage they did ? (depressingly the answer is probably no )