Novice Geocacher’s Second Hide Bombs

Hero or villain? Chris Franich with his “suspected pipe bomb”. Photos: GC Daily World

He may have caused a bomb scare at his hometown cemetery but American geocacher Chris Franich is still dead keen on his new hobby.

On Wednesday, Franich’s latest hide – GC3N5W0 For All The Fallen – in Worthington, Indiana was reported as being a possible explosive.

Police were dispatched to Worthington Cemetery before 10.30am to investigate the suspected pipe bomb in the barrel of a memorial cannon onsite, according to the Greene County Daily World newspaper.

Crime scene: The cordoned-off Veterans Memorial cannon.

But three hours later, it was determined the suspicious device was a harmless geocache, all thanks to its proactive owner (GC handle: chrisfranich).

The incident began when Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) members Ken Stalcup and Kermit Wilcox visited the new military memorial in the middle of the cemetery to raise a POW flag on the recently erected flagpole.

“Stalcup said they noticed two small US flags, normally kept inside the ageing cannon, had been placed on the ground. Many visitors to Worthington Cemetery know that the local veterans keep a few small flags inside the cannon for people who want to place a flag on the grave of a veteran on holidays or other occasions. They’ve been doing this for as long as anyone can remember.

“When Wilcox looked inside the cannon, he noticed an object that did not look like it should be there. Stalcup said the object looked like a pipe bomb but they couldn’t be sure so they got away from the area and reported it to the Worthington Police Department,” the Greene County Daily World reported.

Detour ahead: Law officials block off the area around Worthington Cemetery.

“Worthington Town Marshal Don Richardson was first on the scene, followed by other police officers, deputies from the Greene County Sheriff’s Department, Indiana State Police troopers, the Worthington Fire Department and their first responders plus personnel from the Greene County Ambulance Service.

“A perimeter was set up and yellow police tape appeared around the Veterans Memorial.”

South Jefferson Street was closed and traffic detoured as Indiana State Police escorted their bomb squad and technicians to the cemetery.

Word of the incident spread to the cache owner’s father, who rang his son with the bad news. Despite the pouring rain, Franich “ran off to the cemetery” to check his hide – the second he has placed since joining GC.com last November. He has yet to log any finds online.

Lecture time: Franich faces the music.

Franich hid the large PVC pipe container a few weeks ago, alerting a cemetery official to its presence. It has since been awarded three Favourite points by finders.

Although the item was clearly marked “Geocache” on the side, that could not be seen when looking down the barrel of the cannon.

After speaking with law officials at the scene, “Franich took off running through the rain up to the cannon, reached in and pulled out the geocache before returning to the tent set up beside the bomb squad vehicle”.

He was then lectured by an ISP bomb squad technician about making sure future caches did not look like pipe bombs. However, Franich was not abashed at having caused what has become a common event in the geocaching community.

GC3N5W0 has since been temporarily archived by the local reviewer.

*A video report on the incident can be seen on WTHITV’s website.

**Do you agree with Chris Franich’s actions? Tell us in the comments below …


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  1. Headhardhat

    In this case, as long as the geocacher got permission from the cemetery owner I see no problem with this particular hide. of PVC pipe geocache would be a perfect container to put inside a cannon.It was clearly marked except for the very top and most likely would never have been discovered at all except for this particular circumstance. The only part in all of this that I do not like is that the geocacher did not seem to be phased by the a fact the panic he had caused with the public and I can only hope he learns more about geocaching hides before putting out more.

  2. AeroMechAZ

    This is (one of) the reason(s) why they have the guideline (but not a hard & fast rule) of waiting till you have at least 100 finds before placing one of your own. Get some sort of an idea as to how/where others have placed theirs. I’m not saying that it wasn’t a good hide, just not quite well thought-out beforehand.

  3. Nighthawk700

    Headhardhat, I’m not so sure about “The only part in all of this that I do not like is that the geocacher did not seem to be phased by the a fact the panic he had caused with the public.” As soon as he found out there was a problem he ran down there. That seems to show he’s owning up to his responsibility. Just because he’s smiling for the camera, I’m not sure if he phased or not. Might have just been after discussing it all with the police, he’s happy he isn’t behind bars.

    I am surprised at his having no finds though. I’ve heard of some cachers who just sign the physical log, but don’t do so on line. Anything is possible.

  4. chris

    I did have permission to hid this it was a guy from the vow found it and call it in

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