Police Threaten To Charge Bomb-Scare Cache Owners

Speeding TicketOregon geocachers may face police charges and a hefty bill in future if one of their hides is the subject of a bomb scare.

After a geocache was mistaken for a pipe bomb at Talking Water Gardens last Thursday, an Albany Police Department spokeswoman warned players of the likely consequences for hiding suspicious containers.

Sergeant Stephanie Warren said it was extremely poor judgement to use a section of dark-painted PVC pipe, capped at both ends, as a geocache.

Even the bomb squad couldn’t tell if the item was an explosive device, she added. “It’s pretty frustrating. I am not happy, I think it’s ridiculous. Who does that in today’s day and age?”

In future, police may cite those responsible for similar incidents with disorderly conduct, as well as bill them for the emergency service response, Warren said.

Police, fire and parks employees responded to the popular wetlands walking area at about 1.11pm on Thursday, according to a report in the Albany Democrat-Herald. Talking Water Gardens was closed for about two hours, and a fire engine was on standby as Oregon State Police bomb squad detonated the device.

The geocache in question is believed to be GC3QXZW Talking Waters, a traditional placed in the gardens last July by Rsuther223. It has since been temporarily archived by its owner.

Serene again: Talking Water Gardens in Albany, Oregon.

Serene again: Talking Water Gardens in Albany, Oregon.

City of Albany wetlands manager Tom Ten Pas told the newspaper that walkers first noticed the cache on Wednesday and thought it was suspicious. One of them later looked online and saw that pipe bombs were similar to the item they had spotted.

“They came out again [on Thursday], saw it was there, called police and alerted us. Obviously, it was much ado about nothing, but we didn’t know that.”

Warren said until bomb squad members destroyed the cache, they could not be certain if it was metal or plastic.

Ten Pas said geocachers should use clear plastic containers, such as Tupperware, so that people could see what is inside. Using a pipe with screw caps on both ends was just asking for trouble in his opinion. “If we can educate geocache folks so they don’t do this in the future, this incident will have been beneficial.”


Two days later, the Northern Ireland township of Holywood experienced its own drama – thanks to a geo-bomb scare over GC2GTR7 North Down Coastal Path – Improved Walkway Cultra. 

All that remains: PJon recorded the debris from North Down Coastal Path - Improved Walkway Cultra cache after it was detonated by an army bomb disposal unit.

All that remains: PJon recorded the debris from North Down Coastal Path – Improved Walkway Cultra cache after it was detonated by an army bomb disposal unit.

UTV reported that the 6x4x2-inch “tab-lock box” was spotted along the popular seaside trail near Glen Road in the County Down village on Saturday afternoon. Two homes were evacuated while army bomb experts detonated the container, although the incident was later declared as “nothing untoward”.

A Police Service of Northern Ireland spokesperson told media: “This is believed have been a geo-treasure hunting box.”

That same evening, novice geocacher PJon collected the remaining pieces of GC2GTR7 before cache owner Halywid Hunters placed a new, temporary container at GZ. “We guess this cache has now acquired some notoriety after the recent ‘risk alert’ and subsequent action by the bomb disposal team! Hopefully this won’t happen again.”

*Would the risk of being charged and fined by police if one of your geocaches caused a bomb scare make you less likely to play our favourite game? Tell us in the comments section below …


1 ping

  1. Memfis Mafia

    Unfortunately this is the world and the times we live in. I would like to say that if cachers all used labels and clear containers that we would never see another cache blown up. That, however, would be quite naive. We will not be able to have all geocacher use labels. Maybe I’m just a cynic but I assume that given enough exposure, the bad guys will one day actually disguise a bomb as a geocache. What a wacky world we live in.

  2. GSV

    This reminds me of another ‘bomb scare’ in the States a year (couple of?) ago – woman saw someone acting suspiciously with a box in a tree; reported it; bomb squad appeared … usual story, ending in a an unnecessary bang.

    Same here: for goodness sake people, THINK A MINUTE! Why would a bomb be here? That’s what really annoys me: both the people calling in ‘something suspicious’ and the responding authorities immediately pressing the Big Red Button rather than pausing, thinking, and checking. Sheesh.

    Better response in a situation like this: object called in; authorities look, think, respond, and sign log (yes, it happens!).

    1. kjwx

      Hear, hear … In the Oregon case, the ‘bomb’ had been sitting out there for at least a night before the passersby alerted authorities, so it obviously wasn’t a time-sensitive situation. They could have spared a few minutes to check GC.com.

  1. ‘Family-friendly’ game linked with bombs, bodies and William Tyrrell | FreeGlad

    […] 2013, Oregon police threatened to charge and fine a “ridiculous” geocacher who planted a section of dark-painted PVC pipe, capped at both ends, in a popular wetlands area. The walk was shut down, emergency services put on […]

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