A little over two weeks ago We got a Friday morning phone call. It was the Sheriff’s department. They asked if we still owned a green Yamaha ATV. “Yes, we do”. Did you give permission to someone to use it? “No, we did not, it should be in the barn at our mountain property”. The Deputy had a guy and our ATV. The thief, idiot, fool had been driving it on a county road, a No-no. The deputy stopped him…. Next question was did we own a shotgun? I described the Remington that was kept in the cabin. The deputy had it too.
We drove up to the cabin and met the detectives. The door had been broken open using one of my own tools from the tool shed. Same tool, a 6 ft steel digging bar, was used to pry open the steel barn doors. TV was gone, the wall mount arm had been carefully removed as well. A couple of cheap flashlights, a DMM, battery charger gone. Assorted tools missing, others left behind. A $500 chain saw gone, but not a tap and die set. Honda generator gone, but not the weed eater. Gas cans (full ones) gone. Logging chains gone. A tow strap and assorted 4 wheeling goodies, gone. Two game cameras, gone. $400 of ammo, gone. But the kitchen appliances untouched. My list tallied $4K without counting the recovered ATV and shotgun. My 20 foot extension ladder was leaning against the end wall. It appears they were going to remove the braided copper wire and lightning arrestor system.
But they had one guy in custody. Today talking with the detective I learned the guy’s brother had also been arrested. And their mother. And one guys wife. That’s good news. Some merchandise recovered but so far nothing else of ours. They tell us these guys are implicated, suspected in a string of 40 area burglaries since last winter.
So I’m trying to be upbeat because without the guy stealing our ATV, and being caught, the police probably would not be any closer to stopping these guys. The value of the ATV plus the firearm should give them some serious time. But it is still hard to feel much joy. But thankful we are because they were just thieves and not vandals as well. Other than screwing with the doors they did no damage.
}( Ugh, thieves really are despicable. And the most valuable thing they rob is your peace of mind. The feeling that some faceless unknown person was standing inside your house is an immoral violation of human privacy. Really sorry that happened to you.
If you have any ‘friends in high places’ hint that you’d like to see the crooks reach retirement age in jail. And speak with your own attorney who might offer assistance to the DA; sometimes they can use some help doing research, filing paperwork, and tracking down leads. Check Craigslist for your stuff- smart crooks don’t use the local one but will use a near-by one where their friend does the dirty work. If you find such a person the odds are that your crooks are fencing items for them in exchange so you might help a lot of those others recover their stuff too plus get another thief off the street.
I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t leave tools on a job even if someone is living there because I know too many guys who got ripped off. All my valuable stuff is permanently marked with my phone number and more, so that I can prove an item is mine wherever it turns up. Flea markets are a big thing in this part of the world and there are so many that you can’t expect Police to begin to cover them all- even the local ones. They send their lists to the pawnshops and that’s about it, so if you want your stuff back you have to find it yourself.
I hope you were insured and I’m glad it wasn’t worse. There’s not much you can do to secure a remote location. I’ve known cases where cars were hooked to buildings to get in, and no locks can withstand that. Some others had the doors pushed in with cars. Alarms and cameras only help after the fact. Booby-traps will land you in jail longer than the caught thief. Sometimes the world today really sucks
US firearm laws are less strict that those down under, and my state has no registration or permits needed for anything except concealed carry. The detective has said he will be charged with the theft and with possessing a stolen firearm, the stolen ATV charge (that alone enough to be a very serious level felony). But firearm theft is more serious than stealing the generator for example. In a way I am glad they stole the shotgun as it “ups” the seriousness. Plus I got it back, although the bluing is a tad worn in one spot from the way he had it lashed, bungeed, to the ATV. But it was my rough and ready gun, so I’m not really bothered… just one more mark.
Insurance will cover after the deductible, which is high because the place is remote.
I am not holding my breath on further recovery of gear. That would be nice though.
It has me thinking about security cameras, etc again. I never did anything before for many reasons… We’re in the middle of the woods, no neighbors. We are not visible from any public road. Police response time is measured in hours even on the best days; it is a large very rural county. The highways are good but the minor roads can be a tad rough. Ours sure is; a 4wd is necessary much of the time. No grid power, we’re solar and I don’t like the thought of leaving it up and running when we’re not there. No landline phones; cell service is available but can be spotty. All the above negatives are also the positives, reasons why we built there in the first place. We have been fortunate for over ten years. They did not come through the locked gate, they came through the surrounding national forest land, we’re “landlocked” and are a conspicuous white spot on a map that is a field of green (national forest). Also, Google Earth has some nice satellite views if one takes the time to cruise the area.
Really tiny cameras are available. They could be hidden. They need power though plus a recorder is needed, wired or wireless, or a real time broadcast / cell phone connection and data plan to a home recorder. These guys were methodical enough they most likely would have found either the cameras or the associated electronics. EG, the stolen shotgun was laid flat on the kitchen cabinet tops, not visible even to a 6 foot 4 person. Some of the stolen ammo was behind the rolls of toilet paper and tissues, the balance just in a drawer. In the barn they they took the spare chain saw chains, the sharp ones but not the ones that were in the ’dull chains” box right beside it.
Booby traps were mentioned but that is a sure ticket to jail. Plus I’d probably shoot myself by accident. Probably a good thing I was not there when they arrived though, as the police also found a revolver with the guy who stole the ATV. It had been stolen last year. Too bad he doesn’t already have a felony as then the firearm possession would be extra trouble for him.
The more stuff they can pin on them, especially felony counts the better. My fathers guns were stolen and only those were recovered since only they were listed in the search warrant, the mother came and cleaned house before a new one was issued so all the rest was not. Sounds like another family business needs to be shut down. At least it was just stuff and not lives imperiled. Stolen guns often end up pointed at people.
You could probably install some sirens and lights inside the house that trigger via a sensor. PIR lights run on AA or AAA batteries, would give enough time for a hidden IP camera to record onto a SD card.
I lost over $5k in property in a series of burglaries years ago. The third break-in a neighbor called the police and provided a description. The police found the suspects but rather than detaining them they went to the witness’s home to confirm the descriptions. The suspects escaped. Among the property lost was a stereo system (sony) including a half-loaded 100 disc cd player. They stole the player the first time and came back for the cd cases. Ironically, that was after I reported the first break-in and informed the police that only I and the burglar had handled the cd cases found thrown on the floor. Cop told me there was no way to get fingerprints on plastic. Incompetent Cleveland police at their worst.
Sorry to hear about this. No man can help but get angered when the things he as worked for and acquired are stolen from him…and still it’s best to try and remember it’s only stuff. After I’ve lost something to a thief …if I can do a quick “gratitude list” in my head to remind myself of what’s going “right” sometimes that can help settle me down. I’m not trying to minimize your loss. You’ve a right to be riled.
If you can afford it, a large gun safe bolted to the concrete floor might be the best option. Keep the keys, guns and ammo in there. There are some battery powered cameras and sirens that might fool people into thinking they are being recorded.