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My tent was stolen!!!

Old 06-01-10, 12:03 AM
  #1  
carkmouch
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My tent was stolen!!!

Ugh

Last week my brother and I took a 6~ hour drive up to Madison, WI to drop me off for a bike tour back home to Missouri. The trip was going great until my third day riding when I reached Shannon, IL, a little town under 1000 people.

I set up my tent in the town park thinking it was alright. After I had dozed off, a cop showed up around 10:30 and said I couldn't camp there. I showed him my ID and told him I was riding my bike through. I told him I was just passing through and that I would be gone by early morning, but still he insisted that I move. He said there was another place a few blocks away I could stay.

So I groggily pack stuff from my tent into my panniers and get everything but the tent on my bike. I didn't feel like breaking down and packing the tent as it would be easier to just carry it over to the new site not far away.

I get to the new spot, leave my bike, and walk back to get my tent. I get sorta lost on the way back, forgetting how many blocks I had walked which ways. I was tired, half asleep, my contacts were out, and was a bit annoyed at this cop who woke me up to do this.

I finally find the park but my tent is nowhere to be seen. WTF? I call my parents to google the police station of the town's number, but I get no answer from the police station.

At this point I am furious and becoming a bit worried that I now have no shelter for the night. My nice REI T2 tent that I paid good money for is gone - it was my only shelter and someone just snatched it with no regard. And if it weren't for that cop.... #*&%!!!!

I still had everything else, so I moved to the gazebo in the park and slept on the bench in my rainjacket and sleepingbag like a hobo. The cop drove by later so I flagged him down and told him the situation. He got my phone number to contact me if they found it, but I'm pretty sure I'll never see that tent again.

I guess I should have looked and asked around before camping, but still, the whole situation just pisses me off. Besides that, it was an awesome bike tour - only to be ruined.
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Old 06-01-10, 12:27 AM
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That sucks. I wouldn't have left it behind.
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Old 06-01-10, 12:36 AM
  #3  
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Sorry to hear that. I wonder if the cop might've nicked it.
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Old 06-01-10, 04:18 AM
  #4  
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**** luck, but better the tent than the bike and stuff that you also left unattended.
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Old 06-01-10, 07:23 AM
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cop stole it. bastard.
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Old 06-01-10, 07:39 AM
  #6  
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Unbelieveable! Very sorry to hear it, Carkmouch.
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Old 06-01-10, 07:41 AM
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
cop stole it. bastard.
And you know the policeman "stole" it.... how?
 
Old 06-01-10, 07:48 AM
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OP, why when you broke camp did you leave your tent behind? And why didn't you ask before you decided to camp in the town park?

I'm sorry your tent was stolen, and your tour ended early.
 
Old 06-01-10, 09:40 AM
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camping in a public park with a tent? really? come on.
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Old 06-01-10, 01:04 PM
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Sorry to hear that someone decided to take your tent. Cops usually don't take stuff like that because it would be too easy for them to be caught and loose their job.

Teenagers are a different story. Now days they don't have respect for other people's stuff.

(Pardon the dig)
It looks like stealth camping didn't work out well for you. If you had asked, you would have been at the correct location and would have had an full nights rest.
(dig ended)

Again, it sucks that people will take other people's stuff.
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Old 06-01-10, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by The Historian View Post
And you know the policeman "stole" it.... how?

entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem


I don't know the cop stole it, but in a town with fewer than 1000 people, late at night, with only one known identity (the cop) aware of the tent's 1).presence and 2).vacancy; Occam's razor would indicate that the pig cop stole the tent.

Furthermore, I'm not sure why you put the word stole in quotes? The tent was clearly stolen, full stop. Maybe you're just one of those "people" that "air quotes" things for "fun"
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Old 06-01-10, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post
Sorry to hear that someone decided to take your tent. Cops usually don't take stuff like that because it would be too easy for them to be caught and loose their job.
Riiiiiiiight, you clearly do not deal with many cops do you? Abuse of power and corruption are rampant. Not all, but MANY.

Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post
Teenagers are a different story. Now days they don't have respect for other people's stuff.
Oh gimme a break, when did teenagers ever have respect? Oh, right, let me guess: back in the glory days when you were young... funny, it seems like every generation thinks the same way...

Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post
(Pardon the dig)
It looks like stealth camping didn't work out well for you. If you had asked, you would have been at the correct location and would have had an full nights rest.
(dig ended)
UH, camping in a city park is not stealth camping. Had the OP actually BEEN stealth camping, the cop would never have seen him... that's sort of the point of stealth camping.... not to be noticed or hassled. OP, next time, try hiding out of sight, and enjoy a peaceful nights rest. Camping in city parks is stupid for a number of reasons, bored hick cops are just one of them.

Originally Posted by RWBlue01 View Post
Again, it sucks that people will take other people's stuff.
Yes it does.
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Old 06-01-10, 01:26 PM
  #13  
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Sorry you lost your tent.
I have camped in public parks with no problems.

You have to ask First.
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Old 06-01-10, 04:19 PM
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yeah that a bummer sorry to hear that,i suppose there's a lot to be said for taking a second tent on a tour that run's more than a couple day's maybe even a bivybag.
anyway i hope you get your tent back real soon i would phone that cop every hour on the hour just to piss him off.
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Old 06-01-10, 05:33 PM
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
The tent was clearly stolen, full stop.
No. The tent was clearly taken. Whether theft was involved or not is the issue. Here's another scenario.

Cop shows up and finds someone camping where they aren't supposed to. He asks them to move along and says you can camp over there. The camper grumpily complies but leaves his tent. Cop comes back to find the camper gone but the tent still there and the camper is no where to be found. Cop thinks the tent is abandoned, picks it up and gets rid of it. Perhaps he tosses it in a dumpster while muttering the appropriate obscenities. Maybe he took it back to the station. Maybe it's in his car and he's looking for the camper. A town of 1000 people probably only has two cops...a night guy and a day guy...so of course no one answers the phone.

As 10 Wheels says, ask first. The whole problem could have been avoided.
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Old 06-01-10, 05:50 PM
  #16  
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Was it pegged down? It could have blown away. I temporarily set up a new tent in my front yard to check setup and waterproofness. It was a windless day. I did not peg it and had nothing inside. I went off to do other chores came back to the yard and the tent was gone!


I found it several yards away. A breath of a wind must have come up and blown it away.
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Old 06-01-10, 06:38 PM
  #17  
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Originally Posted by vegenaise View Post
camping in a public park with a tent? really? come on.
Done it dozens of times with the towns blessing. Sorry you haven't since you're missing out on some of the best camping in small towns.
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Old 06-01-10, 06:49 PM
  #18  
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Originally Posted by carkmouch View Post
Ugh

Last week my brother and I took a 6~ hour drive up to Madison, WI to drop me off for a bike tour back home to Missouri. The trip was going great until my third day riding when I reached Shannon, IL, a little town under 1000 people.

I set up my tent in the town park thinking it was alright. After I had dozed off, a cop showed up around 10:30 and said I couldn't camp there. I showed him my ID and told him I was riding my bike through. I told him I was just passing through and that I would be gone by early morning, but still he insisted that I move. He said there was another place a few blocks away I could stay.

So I groggily pack stuff from my tent into my panniers and get everything but the tent on my bike. I didn't feel like breaking down and packing the tent as it would be easier to just carry it over to the new site not far away.

I get to the new spot, leave my bike, and walk back to get my tent. I get sorta lost on the way back, forgetting how many blocks I had walked which ways. I was tired, half asleep, my contacts were out, and was a bit annoyed at this cop who woke me up to do this.

I finally find the park but my tent is nowhere to be seen. WTF? I call my parents to google the police station of the town's number, but I get no answer from the police station.

At this point I am furious and becoming a bit worried that I now have no shelter for the night. My nice REI T2 tent that I paid good money for is gone - it was my only shelter and someone just snatched it with no regard. And if it weren't for that cop.... #*&%!!!!

I still had everything else, so I moved to the gazebo in the park and slept on the bench in my rainjacket and sleepingbag like a hobo. The cop drove by later so I flagged him down and told him the situation. He got my phone number to contact me if they found it, but I'm pretty sure I'll never see that tent again.

I guess I should have looked and asked around before camping, but still, the whole situation just pisses me off. Besides that, it was an awesome bike tour - only to be ruined.
Good lessons can be extracted from this.

One other thing you could do is talk with someone over that cop's head -- a supervisor, or chief of police, for example. Of course, he/she might also not be reliable or helpful, but you never know. Some cops would try to help out, and who knows what the internal politics are like there. Maybe the guy you dealt with already has some strikes or suspicions going against him.

Some of the better law enforcement people have some crafty tricks up their sleeves, and might just be able to find a way to nail this guy.

***
It seems pretty unlikely that it was someone else, at least from what you have said. If it seems that way to you, you could try talking to someone who might be able to help. If the right person hears the story, he or she might be able to piece things together clearly.

It is well confirmed that many cops will take things when they think they can get away with it. And it sounds like the guy was not the nicest cop going, just from the way he treated you before the tent was taken.

***
You can usually find some way to keep going when things like this happen. And you can learn not to let it ruin things if something does happen. As you get more experience and learn the ropes better, you can avoid them so they don't happen in the first place.
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Old 06-01-10, 07:17 PM
  #19  
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Sorry about that. Because of things like this I try to never be separated from things i can't afford to easily replace.

Lessons learned: i. camp away from sight, ii. politely ask for supervisor if you think situation allows for it, and iii. if you see Positron, give Positron a big smile, he needs it -there goes one cynical dude. While I don't think all cops are perfect, I'm also certain there's no need to resort to porcine insults (there are good cops out there as well, let's remember).
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Old 06-01-10, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by kayakdiver View Post
Done it dozens of times with the towns blessing. Sorry you haven't since you're missing out on some of the best camping in small towns.
i prefer to be nowhere near civilization when i am camping.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:09 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by carkmouch View Post
...And if it weren't for that cop.... #*&%!!! .... I guess I should have looked and asked around before camping, but still, the whole situation just pisses me off. Besides that, it was an awesome bike tour - only to be ruined.
It's the cop's job to enforce the law. You were probably either trespassing, illegally camping, or both. He told you to leave, told you another place you could go, and he was kind enough to not take you to jail for the trespassing and/or illegal camping. YOU broke the law, YOU made a silly choice to leave your nice tent behind, YOU took an extra long time getting back to your tent, and it's the cop's fault! Really, your statement should be, "if it weren't for the law prohibiting me from being there," or, "I wish the police wouldn't enforce the law." The cop is just the messenger...
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Old 06-01-10, 09:12 PM
  #22  
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I can see a police officer trying to take down an unfamiliar tent in the dark or holding his 6 cell flashlight in his teeth, and getting it into a small enough package to stuff inconspicuously into the trunk of his patrol car (which by the way is already full of a lot of other things). How long did it take you to put up your tent and take it down the first time; and you had the instructions? Maybe he just drove off holding onto it with one arm out the car window! How long would it have taken you to ride back if you did not get lost?

Sorry you had a bad experience. I like the small parks. Part of touring for me is meeting people, and on our purposely "less-traveled" routes we meet some great folks. While camping in a small city park, we were even warned by some folks that we might want to move our tent because the automatic sprinklers come on at 10:00 pm. We moved to the adjacent fairgrounds lawn, and were invited to a 4H horse show going on that evening. A much different experience, but pretty typical for us.
These 8th graders talked to us for 2.5 hours when we were camped in a city park in Nebraska. Yes, my wife's hair is still wet from the free showers they let us take at the public swimming pool. Those two young ladies are probably planning a tour of their own sometime in the future. Hopefully, before they head off to their respective universities. They were great! They did a better job of interviewing than a local reporter did in another small community. However, you probably will not find these types of experiences on ACA routes.


FWIW I believe there are a hell of a lot more good people out there than bad. I carry that same feeling over to police officers. Nothing in my life's experiences has led me to believe otherwise.

Last edited by Doug64; 06-02-10 at 09:08 PM.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:18 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
No. The tent was clearly taken. Whether theft was involved or not is the issue. Here's another scenario.

Cop shows up and finds someone camping where they aren't supposed to. He asks them to move along and says you can camp over there. The camper grumpily complies but leaves his tent. Cop comes back to find the camper gone but the tent still there and the camper is no where to be found. Cop thinks the tent is abandoned, picks it up and gets rid of it. Perhaps he tosses it in a dumpster while muttering the appropriate obscenities. Maybe he took it back to the station. Maybe it's in his car and he's looking for the camper. A town of 1000 people probably only has two cops...a night guy and a day guy...so of course no one answers the phone.

As 10 Wheels says, ask first. The whole problem could have been avoided.
+1

The simplest explanation is often the best one, and this seems simplest to me.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:19 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
It is well confirmed that many cops will take things when they think they can get away with it.
This seems like a leap to me.

I'd like to see any statistics at all that say that "many cops will take things when they think they can get away with it."

Not saying that there aren't crooked cops; of course there are. But to immediately assume there is a larcenous cop out to steal tents is a huge stretch, and unfair.

Last edited by BengeBoy; 06-01-10 at 11:41 PM.
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Old 06-01-10, 09:20 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by positron View Post
... I don't know the cop stole it, but in a town with fewer than 1000 people, late at night, with only one known identity (the cop) aware of the tent's 1).presence and 2).vacancy; Occam's razor would indicate that the pig cop stole the tent.
...
I suppose the following scenarios are NOT possible, or even likely:
1- the tent blew away - probably the simplest solution if Occam's razor applies
2- someone else walked through the park and took it (homeless people are often walking around at odd times)
3- as cycocommute said, the officer thought the tent was abandoned

Also, I suppose it's NOT at all possible, or even likely:
1- the park was posted no trespassing (or open during daylight hours only, something to that effect), and/or
2- the park was posted no camping (or no overnight stays, etc.)

So, logically, you're a completely innocent victim and the cop must of taken the tent. Yeah right!

And, Niles H., I agree with BengeBoy. In my own words, your above post contains the most rediculous statement I've ever seen on Bike Forums.

Last edited by hopperja; 06-01-10 at 09:30 PM. Reason: to be a little nicer
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