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  #1  
Old 09/20/09, 06:04 PM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
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Catching thieves on camera

I bought my Dad's 40 acre piece of property after his death. Sometime between the time he died in November to February, someone went and stole the two junk cars on it. (Which was actually alright with me, - I didn't have to do any clean up.)

I just stopped by this weekend, and sometime in the last two weeks, someone has gone up to the old fallen down house and tore down a cinderblock wall. Instead of driving up to the house, they parked along a road right beside the property and either used a wheel barrow or ? something? to cart them down to the road where they then loaded them. At least one whole wall is gone (estimated 75 cinderblocks) and I'm guessing they will be back to get more.

I've already contacted the police and filed a report and I'm too bull headed to just buy no-trespassing signs. I'd much rather prefer to buy some kind of cheap ($100.00 or so) trail camera to actually catch them in the act. Not only would I like to get my stolen cinderblocks back, but I'd like to get them into as much trouble as possible.

This weekend I've stopped by at least 6 times hoping to catch them, but being that I work 8 hours a day and have a son that needs to go to football practice, I can't do that all the time.

I'd like to find a game camera (trail camera) whatever, buy like two of them and have one pointed in the area where they are loading the cinderblocks and have another camera set up near the road to catch license plate number and vehicle color, etc. The road is a deadend one - so they HAVE TO go in one way and turn around and come back through - guaranteed to catch license number and prosecute!!!!

Concerns I have are having a camera that is "cheap" - around $100.00, a camera that is easy to put on a tree but one that is "hard to spot for the thieves" - I don't want the camera stolen too! And possibly one that can night photos but doesn't do a flash that can be seen.

I figure after using the camera to catch the culprits, I'll then buy the no trespassing signs and bring the camera to my house to use it as a game camera to see wildlife.

Suggestions for cameras that fit the above description would be appreciated.

I could just put up the no-trespassing signs and HOPE they quit stealing the cinderblocks, but I'm concerned they will start to steal the cut stone foundation that is there too.

Help!

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  #2  
Old 09/20/09, 06:07 PM
 
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I don't know if they are any good, but I saw Aldi was sellling security cameras for under $50. We are thinking of getting some, too.

Veronica

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  #3  
Old 09/20/09, 06:09 PM
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Walmart has a game cam for $50, but the flash might give it away, and they'd steal your camera too. You can get inexpensive wireless video cameras that might do better.

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  #4  
Old 09/20/09, 06:48 PM
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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Even the infrared cameras (that don't use a traditional bright white flash) have a small red light that flashes when it detects movement/takes a picture. I have a couple of them and I noticed that they do this, so if you use one, take into account that the small but still very noticable red light that flashes for a split second is indeed very noticable in the dark.

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  #5  
Old 09/20/09, 07:58 PM
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Id booby trap the place with barbed wire to trip the devils. Think "Home alone"
Loosen a few blocks, and fill the holes with some manure tea. We had a farmer friend who was getting his pumpkins stolen, and he put a big one out very visibly, filled with manure tea and greased it. Fool thief must have been nice and stinky.
I bet the same follks keep stealing from you, and are nearby and know when you are around.

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  #6  
Old 09/20/09, 10:51 PM
 
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Don't do booby traps. The law will be all over you if someone gets hurt. And the person that gets hurt will end up owning the farm, your house, etc.

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  #7  
Old 09/21/09, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuliaAnn View Post
Even the infrared cameras (that don't use a traditional bright white flash) have a small red light that flashes when it detects movement/takes a picture. I have a couple of them and I noticed that they do this, so if you use one, take into account that the small but still very noticable red light that flashes for a split second is indeed very noticable in the dark.
Just cover the red light/flash with a small piece of electrical tape.
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  #8  
Old 09/21/09, 07:31 AM
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Carefully consider any kind of booby trap if you go that route as it could mean legal trouble for you. I'd get the best game camera you can afford AND the no trespassing signs. It will help your case should you ever catch the thief. Are you close enough that you could put a big dog out there and check on couple times a day? Also keep an eye open in the area for anyone workinng with blocks. Any nieghbors who can watch the place? Either to be a look out or keep an eye on things for you?

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  #9  
Old 09/21/09, 09:48 AM
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
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I'm not going to "booby trap" the place. I wasn't interested in physically hurting them - just hurting them financial wise and make their muscles hurt when I catch them and force them to return the blocks - up a nice BIG hill.

The location of this property is in a secluded remote spot with no electricity. The road that goes past is an old dirt road that is now a dead end because an older bridge that needs replaced, the county & state are fighting over who actually owns it (and who has to pay to replace it). I can't just block off the road either, as other people own property past my place - it's just no one actually lives back there and the road is a county road.

There are no neighbors around other than one neighbor who've I've already stopped and let know. However, they actually have to go outside their house and "peek" over to see if anyone is over there.

If I tied a dog there, it would only be checked on once a day. I don't have a "mean dog" to begin with so a dog wouldn't prevent a theft - and they might just steal the dog as well!

I'm more interested in catching them on camera - having proof who did it - getting the police involved to get my cinderblocks back and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

I guess I just want to know if installing a game camera will guarantee a clear enough picture with the license plate so I can get the police involved. How are the cameras motion wise - is every gentle breeze blowing tree branches around going to result in a bunch of "scenic" pictures?

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  #10  
Old 09/21/09, 10:41 AM
 
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Location: way back in the woods, up on a mountain, in wonderful WV
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Just a question... you said "I'm too bull headed to just buy no-trespassing signs" but I'm wondering if there are any signs up at all. Seeing that they stole two junk cars and cinder blocks from an "old fallen down house", it's possible they believe they are taking abandoned property and/or helping clean up the area.

It's still not right... and it's still theft... but maybe a few new signs would put them on notice that the property is off limits and someone actually cares whether they take the stuff or not.

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  #11  
Old 09/21/09, 11:54 AM
 
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There isn't really any "abandoned" property. Somebody owns it. And if they don't pay taxes on it, after 3 years it then reverts to the county owning it.

For someone to "help clean up" the area - you couldn't see the two junk cars or the old house from the road - so it wasn't an eyesore. (When the cars disappeared, I didn't even own it - the property was part of an estate of which I was an heir.)

The junk cars were stolen to be sold for scrap, I'm sure. As for the cinderblocks, somebody would actually have to walk to the house and think "Hmmmm, I need cinderblocks, I guess I'll come and take these since they aren't serving a purpose to this old house."

It's still THEFT regardless. I shouldn't have to post my property, and even if signs are up - that only keeps the honest people off.

I would like to get a camera and catch them, then I'll gladly put signs up to keep the honest folk off. "Course that STILL won't stop the dishonest folks around.

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  #12  
Old 09/21/09, 12:10 PM
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spill a bunch of tacks on the road ...they wont get far ?
www.mcm.com
has camera systems we were looking at ......

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  #13  
Old 09/21/09, 01:58 PM
 
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I'd rather catch them on a bullet!

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  #14  
Old 09/21/09, 02:46 PM
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I know what you mean about the signs; they will do it anyway. Cops here have told me get cameras, signs, motionn sensor lights, etc. For others who may want to set up some surveillance on their homes; check out Harbor Freight. I got one of their nighht vision closed circuit cameras. It doesn't work worth a darn at night, but during the day is pretty good. You can get a good description of vehicles at 200+ feet and it will record sound about 20-30' radius. I also use the driveway alarms at about 150' from the house. Gives a little bit of notice. Lastly, are these little window & door alarms. They reallly wouldn't do much; but if the thief does not know thay aren't tied to a bigger sophistacated system they'd worry. And if you watch for the sales; you can get all this for under $100. I've also invested in fishing twine and cow bells. The twine is strung low in a doorway so that the persons foot gets caught in it (but won't trip them) which in turns pulls the cow bell.

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  #15  
Old 09/21/09, 04:41 PM
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But if you also put up the signs, you are at least notifying folks that IT IS NOT ALL RIGHT TO TRESPASS. (ie a legal right to press charges once you identify them with the game cam.) I think, in WI, if one does not want anyone without permission on the land, it must be posted.

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  #16  
Old 09/21/09, 04:46 PM
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Another legal point (atleast in my town) is that it is easier to press charges if it is posted. The person could claim that your father or whomever said he could have the blocks. They could say they didn't know the property changed owners, etc. Additionally, if the person was EVER allowed on the property and is not aware they are no longer allowed, they may get away with trespassing. In my town they had a "personalized" no trespassing notice. You can have it served on anyone and it tells them specifically they can't not come on your place anymore. Besides I think criminals have more rights than the honest person.

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  #17  
Old 09/21/09, 07:07 PM
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Just tack a note on a visible wall and tell them all the stuff you want gone and would you kindly leave the rest.
It might weird them out enough to leave it alone.

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  #18  
Old 09/21/09, 10:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homesteadforty View Post
It's still not right... and it's still theft... but maybe a few new signs would put them on notice that the property is off limits and someone actually cares whether they take the stuff or not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael W. Smith View Post
There isn't really any "abandoned" property. Somebody owns it.
Yeah... that's why I wrote that it's still theft But there is a difference between old property laying around in a field and taking something that is on/around an actively used property.

Quote:
The junk cars were stolen to be sold for scrap, I'm sure. As for the cinderblocks, somebody would actually have to walk to the house and think "Hmmmm, I need cinderblocks, I guess I'll come and take these since they aren't serving a purpose to this old house."
Yep... probably!

Quote:
It's still THEFT regardless.
Quote:
I shouldn't have to post my property, and even if signs are up - that only keeps the honest people off.
You don't have to post your property if you don't want to... and truth be told, it doesn't matter to me whether you do or not. I only made a suggestion that might help. The honest people don't need signs... they're not going to come on the property no matter what. The theives aren't going to care. It's the in between people that the signs will help with... you know, the ones that may think nobody cares if they take the stuff (junk).

Quote:
I would like to get a camera and catch them, then I'll gladly put signs up to keep the honest folk off. "Course that STILL won't stop the dishonest folks around.
Then get a camera and catch them (it really sounds like you have serial thieves just waiting for a chance to come back and steal your stuff). Good luck with the time, money and effort to take them to court... only to have them tell the judge they thought the stuff was abandoned (or they had permission to take it from the previous owner). At most, they'll get a slap on the wrist like probation before judgement. But most like they'll get a nol pros (no prosecution).
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