DID YOU EVER WONDER: Do geocachers pay when bomb squad comes out?

November 12, 2010

I can’t believe we’ve had another incident involving people playing a game with suspicious packages that resemble bombs. Streets closed, schools locked down, people hiding packages and then running from police and in more than one incident the bomb squad had to blow up the unidentified objects. Aren’t there restrictions for the people playing this game? And couldn’t they be charged for all the city resources that were wasted?
— Randy W.

ANSWER: Geocaching is a high-tech version of a scavenger hunt with players worldwide utilizing GPS to find the hidden treasures (geocaches), signing the logbooks and then sharing the fun and adventure of the search online.

Unlike in some of our local incidents, experienced geocachers know — particularly in urban areas — to mark their caches as such because, as the head of the police bomb squad was quoted in one case, “They have all the makings of a pipe bomb.”

The official site explicitly spells out the rules: geocaching.com. “To reduce confusion and alarm when a cache is discovered accidentally, clearly label your container on the outside with appropriate information to say it is a geocache. Common sense in selecting hiding spots and containers can reduce the risk of your cache being perceived as a danger to those who are unaware of our sport.”

Caches can’t be buried, can’t be on restricted land or military installations, should be there only with the permission of the landowner or land manger and can’t be near or under public structures including schools, airports and many other sites.
Could someone be charged or fined for leaving suspicious, unmarked geocaches? They haven’t yet but you could check with your city council representative.

As for the Colorado Springs Police Department: It considers these geocaching incidents merely people playing games.           

Why do people here wear bees?
So many people here wear little bees. What does that represent?
— Jennifer W.

A:  It means they’ve discovered - or are regulars at - The Golden Bee pub at The Broadmoor. Below the International Center on Lake Circle, the fun place with yards of ale and enthusiastic sing-alongs has the fixtures shipped here from a 19th century English pub. Spend an evening there and the wait staff will “bee” you and even “birthday bee” you, meaning they put your very own little bee sticker on you.

Big, brick backyard hole
My neighbor found an underground brick structure in his backyard.  It’s maybe 8-10’ deep and 8-10’ around and lined in brick, covered by a piece of limestone.  These houses are 100 years old.  Any idea what it is?
— Marty Harper  

A: It’s one of the many no-longer-used cisterns where residents all over the city stored rainwater.


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