Automobile Break-ins

Occasional break-ins at river access parking lots during a trip have become troublesome. Usually the window is broken and a few minor items are stolen. The expense of the repair is the major issue especially if the motorized mechanism inside the door is also ruined.

I was wondering whether anyone has ever used something like a digital game camera to monitor parked cars during an outing? Example:

good idea

Conviction does not equal repair.
Likely, unless you’re willing to wait a long time and go through a long process, you aren’t recovering any goods or compensation. Also, assuming you get a perfect picture, who’s going to recognize the suspects? Doubtful that it’s going on the local news or post office w/ a dedicated tip line.

I’m not trying to be negative, it’s actually a good idea, except that one never knows if the game camera will become stolen if they notice it (they may be watching before you even park, and see you set it up). Plus the expense of the cam, and the low likelihood of even getting the dirtbags, let alone recovering anything from it, make it more trouble than it’s worth, imho.

I’d use it at home, though, if I’ve had break-ins commonly.

Cameras don’t deter theives. Nor
do they help much in identifying the culprits. Very good resolution is needed and most game cameras are probably not going to give you that from the distance you’ll most likely have to place one from the vehicle. With game cameras, you are going to pay for good resolution. Most hunters don’t want to know how the game looks, but whether game frequents the area or uses the feeder.

Break Ins
are common on Maui. The way I cope with them is to leave nothing of value in the car and the doors unlocked. Nothing to break into and nothing to steal?

They tend to target rental cars on Maui.

Drive a beater truck
and leave a note that says “stereo already stolen”.

Are these things happening in broad daylight at public boat launches?


Daylight? Yes.
River access lots tend to be rather isolated and quiet. It could be meth-heads.

Advanced anti-theft devices

Been doing the same thing for
a couple of years. So far no problems but it is an inconvenience to take all valuables out of the car everytime I go boating. Actually I take it one step further and leave the windows rolled down (unless it’s raining).



The way I cope with them is to leave nothing >of value in the car and the doors unlocked. >Nothing to break into and nothing to steal?

They tend to target rental cars on Maui.

Trunk Monkey Anti-thief device?

So whaddya think?

Everyone running a 32-inch plasma monitor on this site?

Do yourself a favor (and everyone else) and break down your Cabella’s link into two or three shorter segments.

Waiting game
An acquaintance went hunting and parked his car in a turn out. He hiked up a small hill and was hidden in the brush about 75 yards from his car when he saw a truck pull up. 2 men got out and started to strip his car. A rifle shot into the gravel under one mans butt sent them running. He got some tools out of it and a new sport.

More should do that
It’s that random gotcha that might make some thieves think twice.

It’s unpleasantly surprising what you find if you hide, either virtually or physically. A friend put a video monitor at the entrance to their long driveway. Every day after work she and hubby would fast-forward through the hours of tape. She said it was tedious but shocking to see how many people would drive in and snoop around. Previously, they had noticed all the tire tracks and wanted to confirm what they suspected. They installed a locking gate.

I got a bad feeling at a trailhead about one guy in a big old convertible. Bicyclists and walkers were swarming around getting ready to do their thing, but as I geared up I noticed he was sitting in the car and just watching, doing nothing else (not reading or listening to music, not eating, not getting dressed, etc). Because I had recently had my (locked) truck broken into, I was extra wary. After locking my truck, I rode the short way over and asked him if he was lost or needed help. He said, “I’m just waiting for my friend to show up so we can go biking.” He did not have a bike in his car. But maybe the friend was bringing one for him. There was nothing I could do, really, so I rode off.

But the bad feeling persisted, so after only about 5 to 10 minutes, I hurried back. The guy was driving around the lot, looking at cars. Again, maybe he was just looking for his friend. BUT as soon as he saw me watching him, he TOOK OFF in a big hurry. I stuck around a little more to make sure he didn’t come right back. I also warned someone who was nearby to lock up because it appeared someone was casing the lot.

Trunk Monkey
What a HOOT! Thanks for posting. I only have dial-up and those vids take a few moments to load - but well worth it. LOL!!! RK

A better solution.
Park your vehicle there, paddle off, and beach your boat a few hundred yards out of sight, don a ghillie suit and creep back to your car, hiding in the bushes nearby with a shotgun. When someone breaks into your vehicle, come up behind him and blow the back of his knees out and creep away. Get back in your boat, dump the ghillie suit and gun in deep water. Paddle around until you hear sirens, then come back to your launch site, making a big show so anyone nearby will notice you arrive. Ask “what’s going on, here, officer? - - hey, that’s my car! That guy in the ambulance, did he break my window?”

Wait a few weeks for the heat to die down. Get one of your friends to do what you did.

Repeat that a few times and that launch site will get a reputation as a very safe place to leave your car.

I don’t know
Many years ago (late 60’s) I was hunting in the late afternoon. Just drove to the end of a logging road and slipped of in the trees about 50 yards from the truck and sat under a tree waiting and watching a game trail on the other ridge. Heard a pick up drive up and stop, (drat other hunters), then heard some clanking and voices, (getting stuff out to go huntin’ right?) then the truck drove off. Half an hour later I returned to my truck and discovered that they had stolen my high lift jack (about $100) They had some nerve to do that in daylight during hunting season.

Nothing to steal
I’ve had the best luck putting anything of value in the trunk and then just leave the doors unlocked. In my car I pulled the fuse for the inside trunk release. I once returned to find the glove box open and dumped out, but there was nothing worth taking.

Great idea
Leaving the doors unlocked is a great idea.Locking them won’t deter real vehicle car thieves and saves having a broken window and other danage.Twice when I saw a vehicle hanging around where I parked I went up to it and asked if he was so and so I was supposed to meet even though his licence # didn’t match.One just gave me a puzzeled look and the other took off.I have also said that another party was comming in after me sometime and would they tell them I already went on.This is a problem I try to put out of my mind when tripping.


Quality of Life Crime
is what it’s termed here in Buffalo.

Slap on the wrist (perp usually shows up with a nyaclu lawyer who describes the individual as a person with a drug habit who is now undergoing treatment)and they’re back out doing it all over again.

Here locally,they were using kids. Break the window,have the 8-10 year old go in and rifle the vehicle and the climb righ back out the window…no door, no alarm. Had one incident where a postal worker caught em doing it and the older kid pulled a gun and told the carrier to keep the F*** moving B****. Carrier said a mid 80s olds pulled up the kids threw the loot in it and it took off…Found the car trashed and abandoned the next day.

Kids wind up in juvie court if they’re caught.

Video cam or not,the odds of the issue being stopped is less than zero.

Feeding the Animals; Nightmare
I’m with okole and wheels78. I try to leave no valuables in my pickup and leave it open, with windows at least cracked if the weather is okay. I’d hate for criminals to smash a window even though the door is open. Do you suppose they check?

In the bed of my pickup, I have a tuf-box into which I usually heave all my paddling gear. I put a padlock and chain on it so that it is locked and attached to the truck. If I have anything I’m not taking with me that I care about, it goes into the box. Not that the box is especially secure, but the criminals who prey on parked vehicles are not likely to have the tools or motivation to break into it. They are out for an easy score following known methods–a jimmy bar or rock through the window.

This has worked for me at locations along the C&O canal that have perpetually been the site of break-ins to paddlers’ vehicles. I have also done no brain stuff at these sites and had it turn out okay. Once I left the door of the truck open the whole time I was on the river (I think, at least it was open when I came back). Nothing taken.

This is a community issue. I get peaved at the victims who post to the local DC-area boards about break-ins at the lots frequented by paddlers. It is a know freakin’ problem, that’s been going on for years. By leaving their valuables in the car, they perpetuate the problem. It’s like feeding wild animals. Animals learn where the picnicers hang out and return to that spot because they reliably find food. Paddlers who leave their wallets in the car are feeding the animals (criminals), and that puts all our vehicles at risk. So, don’t do it. Pack a dry bag or box and take your wallet and phone and whatever else you don’t want stolen. If you are going to leave it, figure out a secure way to do it, such as a secure box cabled or chained within the trunk. We are not in the 1950s, criminals abound, and we need to learn to deal with it.

I do have a recurring nightmare about break-ins. In my dream I am returning to the launch across open water and I’m a mile or so out. I can see my car, and it is being broken into or stolen or vandalized–I can’t tell which but I know it isn’t good. I paddle like hell trying to get there in time to break up the party. I never get there.