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Controversial Steal-A-Cache Website Muggled

m4Muggled.net – the controversial new website encouraging players to steal geocaches and hold them ransom – has itself been muggled.

Earlier today, the site was taken offline, apparently after multiple complaints to its hosting service by angry geocachers.

Gerald Roman

Gerald Roman

InMotion Hosting would not comment on why Muggled.net was no longer available but several Facebook geocaching groups have been campaigning for their members to contact the company with their concerns.

The alternative listing service, which is believed to be the work of Florida’s Gerald Roman, was created in early April but only began raising geocachers’ hackles a fortnight ago when its administrator released the below YouTube clip.

It encourages users to locate Geocaching.com and OpenCaching hides, sign the logbooks, then steal the containers and their contents. What happens next is up to each member. Options include planting their own Muggled.net cache at GZ to alert the actual owner and subsequent finders of the theft; holding the original hide hostage, thereby forcing its placer to pay US$10 for its return; destroying the cache and posting photos of its demise online; taking over ownership of that hide; or performing a “good deed” by returning the stolen haul.

Offline

Giving himself the handle 2013MDN (Muggled Dot Net), Roman spends four minutes, 58 seconds advocating to his video camera how this “morphed” version of geocaching is purely for fun before vehemently denying any legal liability for the actions of his Muggled.net members.

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Despite prominently bearing the slogan ‘Muggle or be muggled -the choice is yours’, his homepage notes: “We are not against geocaching; we simply make it interesting”.

“In a nutshell, [MDN] is geocaching, taking the geocache, then submitting to site [sic] with some muggler options available like holding hostage, destroyed, good deed [cache returned] etc. Join us today to begin your new geocaching/muggling adventure. You can also submit geocaches for other [MDN] members to muggle for you.”

As well as charging his “muggler” members and victimised cache owners US$10 each to use the website, Roman apparently hoped to generate further income with replacement cache containers and related MDN merchandise, as well as classified advertising – notably through the sale of stolen caches.

101On another page, the Muggled.net creator states: “By no means is this website meant to cause any geocaching wars etc but to simply ‘morph’ geocaching from what it is today.”

Regardless, his concept has been met by widespread condemnation by the international geo-community. Among those hundreds of angry critics is “proud” South Florida geocacher Julie Dixson (GC handle: CanicaAzul), who asked It’s Not About The Numbers to express her outrage to Roman.

“His site basically says steal caches and pay US$10 to list said stolen caches on his website. Then he wants the cache owner to fork over another US$10 to get their cache back otherwise it might be destroyed?  Sounds like a douchebag to me. His idea is shit for a thousand reasons – least of all being that if I wanted to take a cache hostage, I certainly wouldn’t need to pay him US$20 to do it!”

Comments on Roman’s Muggling 101 YouTube clip – which has been viewed more than 1300 times in the last few hours – have since been disabled but messages on 2013MDN’s profile page also unanimously rejected the money-making ploy.

TOS“You want to muggle (outright steal) someone’s cache that they spent time and money to put in a certain place, for the chance that people will join you and pay US$10. Not a twist on geocaching, its the very definition of extortion. You just want to earn money by taking someone’s property.

“And on top of that you have no control over members if they decide to not return the geocache … It would be different if you guys went out and placed your own muggable caches for the game, but you are using others that are meant to be there,” wrote Tetrisman22102.

Michelle McGee added: “Hope you come and find my caches; can’t promise my Rottweiler will have as much self-control as I will if you steal my caches!”

But rgnissen202 was nearly rendered speechless: “Really? Just really? I don’t even have words … just effin trolls.”

Similar comments can be seen on most geocaching websites, forums and Facebook groups.

Attempts by It’s Not About The Numbers to contact Roman have so far proven unsuccessful.

535621_562515243772107_805948645_nThe Middleburg resident also allegedly founded Off The Grid Caching, a membership-based subscription service “focusing on different levels of geocaching etc”, in late 2012. The start-up’s website is offline this weekend, though its Facebook page is still operating.

Information on that site reveals Off The Grid had six caches listed in Jacksonville, Florida back in February and that same month its owner announced a new Earth Geocache category to get around the problem of GC.com members “hiding caches in places where our OTGC members want to hide caches as well”.

Roman’s YouTube profile was created only two weeks ago and features just one video. There has been no other activity from that account. Both Muggled.net and Off The Grid Caching were registered through Arizona company Domains by Proxy so their ownership details are not publicly listed.

Sources have confirmed that Groundspeak is also keen to contact Roman.

*Would you use Muggled.net or a similar service? If not, what would you say to its creator given the opportunity. Tell us in the comments section below.

27 comments

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  1. Chris

    I highly doubt that this %^&* person has any children. Or at least any children that don’t go GeoCaching with him. I know of many Cache Owners in my area that are kids and youth. They all understand that caches sometimes get muggled by TRUE Muggles. But to actively encourage the thevory, destruction, and hostage of one’s cache is downright evil. To take a kid or youth’s cache container that they worked for hours in preparation of the container, cache description, maintenance, etc…to hold it ransom to not only find out who took it…but to then charge again to get it back…is inhuman. There is a special place in Hell for a man like you…I heard there is a GeoCache down there just waiting for you to sign it’s logs.

  2. NoNameYet202

    I’m youtube username rgnissen202 (had to change accounts back before they allowed us to change our usernames). Anyways, After I had a few minutes to think, I had words: “Why is it whenever there is anything good and decent, you find guys like these $#@*ers who feel it is there job to &*(^ with people. Besides being highly illegal, it’s just plain low.”

  3. cantuland

    He has a criminal mind and promotes criminal activity in the guise of “an altered sport.” He even mentions in his YouTube video that if followers of his website would like to do a “Good Deed,” they might return the stolen geocache after having kept possession of it for about a month. There is no good deed in theft. There is no good deed in planning a nicety after causing intentional harm. This guy has really lost it.

  4. ChileHead

    He works at AT&T. If he has conducted any of what is very likely illegal activity on company time, I’m sure he would no longer be working there. If I still worked there I’d certainly chase that down. I’d be very surprised if he didn’t spend lunches or other “down time” working on this crap on AT&T’s dime.

  5. Mr.Yuck

    The Muggled.net site went back up on the internet probably within 24 hours of this blog post. But all the links are 404, and there is this text on the main page: “Due to some feedback from sister site (OTGC – http://www.offthegridcaching.com), we have suspended this site for now…please note [ MDN ] just released site with certain intensions, which have been reconsidered. Thanks to all for your support and guideance…the CONTACT US form is available for any questions or concerns !”

    His linkedin.com profile refers to him being from the Birmingham, Alabama area, not Florida.

  6. Aranea

    WOW, what a jerk! We were wondering when some idiot would come out of the wood-work.
    Very HAPPY to see he is being shut down, this boy needs to get a life.

  7. Geocaching the family friendly way

    It’s sad to see that someone would get pleasure from heinous acts like theft, deception, extortion, and just bad form. If I were bored with what geocaching had to offer, there ate many productive alternatives. This just shows a person or persons that have a need to be in control that is not being met in their professional/personal lives. Unfortunately, it has crept over into their hobbies. I suggest trying to learn guitar or build a ship in a bottle, but not this. Grow up and know the GC community will not stand for this behavior!

  8. CowtownJohn

    So he won’t mind then if I have a friend hack the crap out of his website or whatever, then charge him $500 to get it back? @$$hat.

  9. No Muggle

    I wonder what would happen if someone muggled his car, his wallet, his computer, his TV or the clothes on his back? Would he thank the ‘muggle’ for ‘making his life intresting’?

  10. Glitter Princess

    Being new to the sport and really enjoying it so far, I am mortified that someone thinks it would be ok to blackmail me if someone stole the one cache I have placed. I have worked hard to find the right spot, gotten permission from the manager of the facility to place it, and explained the sport to her so she thoroughly understands what it is that would be happening at the location and I regularly maintain the cache(I add swag every couple of weeks to make sure the visitors to it have something fun to remember it by!)

    I hope that people realize what a douche this guy is being and rise above his ways to keep the game fun and something that people will want to continue doing without fear of having their hard work, time and money intentionally stolen.

  11. You Disgust Me!

    Ditto to all of the above comments, ten-fold! It comes down to basics – The eighth commandment: “Thou shalt not steal”. No if’s, and’s or but’s. Wait a minute, there is one “butt”, you!

  12. Elisa

    Pst! Guys, guess what! It’s not steal stupid… You abandoned the items for someone to take. If you are stupid enough to pay them, well then I have no nice words for you.

    And if you don’t want it stolen, then hide it better! They go after the ones that are not hid well. Hide yours well and you’ll be safe~

    Besides, nothing they are doing is illegal~

  13. ChileHead

    Elisa – uh, yes … it’s stealing. If you park your car on a public street is it abandoned? If you park your bike in the woods at a trail head is it abandoned? If I had a cache on my personal property and list it on geocaching.com, taking the cache isn’t stealing?

    1. Elisa

      See my new comment sweetie~

    2. Elisa

      Besides, if you put a cache in your yard and someone comes into your yard, isn’t that /your/ fault? That’s like… setting people up. (Entrapment)

      1. ChileHead

        Just saw this now. So a couple months late, darling, here is a reply.

        I see you are using big words that you really don’t understand the meaning of. Please let me help you with the meaning of “entrapment”.

        Entrapment is a defense used by criminals when they are accusing an agent or other government official of originating the idea of a crime and inducing the accused to take part in it.

        Placing a cache or other item in my yard that isn’t locked down doesn’t even come close to the legal definition of entrapment. I have a kayak sitting in my front yard now – if somebody comes and steals it, is it entrapment? My car is just sitting there in my driveway. All somebody has to do is come with a tow truck and pull it away. Entrapment?

        1. Bored

          Well, I have to reply to that too. (I should just go to bed.) Entrapment isn’t just a mere defense used by criminals to get away with something. It IS an illegal tactic that law enforcement is not allowed to use and has been used (not always intentionally) and has resulted in people who are not criminals being perceived as criminals. And even if they are a “known criminal,” it is illegal to trick them into committing any particular crime that they wouldn’t have otherwise committed. You have to let them initiate the decision to commit the crime. (But geocaching still has nothing to do with entrapment.)

  14. Elisa

    ChileHead:
    Oh my gosh you’re stupid.
    You. Are. Leaving. Your. Items. There.

    It’s like… leaving a pencil in a bush and then complaining when someone finds it and takes it, you go off whining ‘Nooo! They took my pencil that I left there! D: Boohoo’

    Do you know what abandonment is? When you give up entirely. You are leaving your stuff for someone to take. Are you going to complain if just some random person stumbles across it and takes it.

    Your argument is weak and makes me laugh.

    By the way; The police themselves said that it is not illegal and that it is technically abandonment/littering.

    P.S. All of you people threatening this guy and his family are in the wrong and look ignorant. Would you say these things to his face? How about in front of police? Ahhh, how I love seeing pathetic people talk all tough on the internet~ UvU <3

    1. Cumbyrocks

      Hi Elisa,

      Please refrain from insulting people in your comments – there’s no need to incite personal argument and it’s a good way to get yourself banned from commenting. Stick to the topic.

      It’s legally quite clear that intentionally leaving an item in a place for a specific purpose is not abandonment and that you still own that item. Hence the reason Paul Rebak in 2010 was charged with theft following the removal of a geocache in New York State. http://www.romesentinel.com/news?newsid=20100217-141107

      Obviously there is no evidence that the site owner did anything wrong or illegal, however he was establishing (unintentionally I believe) a vehicle that encouraged people to steal geocaches and which could lead to extortion of cache owners.

      I also have reason to believe that you might be an acquaintance of Gerald Roman. Would that be correct?

      1. Elisa

        Ah. Terribly sorry.
        Actually no, I do not know him.
        I just saw the article and the rude comments.

        1. Cumbyrocks

          Oh, okay. Just a little odd that he’s in Jacksonville, Florida we believe. Hey, isn’t that where you’re from!?!

      2. TOS

        We’ve had this before in the UK – people who simply “steal” Geocaches deliberately.

        Elisa: I don’t know about the US, but we have a process that if someone deliberately muggles caches, it is regarded as theft. The Police are very interested and if you care to check the UK Geocaching forums, there is a process on how we do this.

        So just in case anyone chooses to do this in the UK, be very, very careful. It wouldn’t be difficult to get a court order and I’m sure that it’s in Groundspeak’s interest to comply!

      3. ChileHead

        Again, you are using big words you may not understand.

        Cumbyrocks already tried to explain it a bit, so I won’t do so again.

        You can’t abandon an item on your own property.

        You are not abandoning an item you leave on property you have permission for or a permit for.

        Now if you leave an item (such as a geocache) on property that you don’t own and don’t have permission to place it in or that doesn’t have an explicit geocaching policy, then the owners of that property have every right to treat it as abandoned.

        People who come across a cache on any property and, in good faith, assume it’s garbage or abandoned, have done nothing wrong if they pick up the items and trash it out.

        There is a legal and moral issue here. You know what’s right and wrong. And if you don’t, well it’s probably too late.

    2. Bored

      I know this is an incredibly old discussion, but I’m bored. Stupid people calling people stupid is, well, stupid. We are not just leaving the caches there and abandoning them anymore than I’m abandoning my car when I park it in a parking lot. As someone else pointed out, you clearly don’t know what the word “entrapment” means. (We aren’t placing the caches for the purpose of trying to trick someone into committing a crime.) It *might* be questionable whether or not it’s illegal to just steal a cache left on public property. But doing it, or anything else, for the purpose of extorting money from someone is just that, EXTORTION. It’s not legal ANYWHERE. Any cop who doesn’t know that is confused and needs to find a line of work he’s qualified for.

  15. Peter

    Surely this is theft. Encouraging theft cannot be a good thing, if not illegal. Why are the police involved even if it only involves small accounts of money.

  16. Emily Taylor

    If you abandon property in public ownership rights are extinguished.

    1. Bored

      It’s not abandoned. Your logic didn’t stop someone in New York from getting arrested for it. Many of the caches are in parks, with permission. There’s actually a park here in Ohio with the policy of considering stealing a geocache to be theft just as it would be theft to steal any other park property.

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