Big Bend Chat

Big Bend in the News => Big Bend on the Web => Topic started by: Meadows8903 on October 16, 2018, 07:37:46 AM

Title: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: Meadows8903 on October 16, 2018, 07:37:46 AM
This was posted on the Friends of Big Bend Facebook page this morning:

For thirty-two years Iíve called Big Bend my favorite place on the planet. Itís provided the wide-open space and spectacular beauty that fills my soul with freedom. Iíve hiked all the trails except those requiring 4-wheel drive to get to. This past weekend, my husband and I rented a Jeep to do one or two of those.
We drove the rugged River Road from the West and camped at Dominguez Springs Campsite, spending the night under the Milky Way watching the lightening show to the north of us throughout the night. On Saturday morning, October 13 we carefully hiked our way up the indistinguishable route, seven miles to the spring. A true oasis in the desert; so alive with green plants, butterflies and birds. Joy and relief filled us as we returned to camp, so looking forward to the celebratory beverages left in the cooler.
Unfortunately, as we approached the campsite, our joy evaporated, replaced by shock and disbelief. Everything was gone. The tent, sleeping bags, thermarests, sheets, pillows, the metal table. The bear box was completely empty. Gone was the cooler, all our food, beverages, the 6 gallons of water, the kitchen supplies & dry goods. Even the small bag of garbage. Tossed on the ground were two books, a plant guide, my sweat pants and long-sleeve shirt. Also left behind was the water container and wooden mat we use to rise off. Our shock was tinged with relief that they had not damaged or broken into the vehicle.
With nothing to sleep on and no food, we had no choice but to leave. Yes, weíve reported the incident. The loss of the items is trivial. Yes, it could have been so much worse; more tragic, more violent. We werenít attached, held at gun point, hurt or even threatened. And, I do believe that their leaving behind the water container and the undamaged truck shows a sense of kindness and generosity.  I am grateful for that.
But I am filled with sadness. We were robbed. Robbed of our things. Robbed of our night out in the desert. But most damaging, we were robbed of the sense of freedom that the Big Bend has always provided. My happy place is now filled with the sense of vulnerability. Not from the elements, as was always the risk, but from other human beings.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/bigbendfriends/permalink/10156122760902547/


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: Txlj on October 16, 2018, 08:59:07 AM
That's a story I hate to read. In 16 years I've never worried about things like this in the Bend. 
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: 01ACRViper on October 16, 2018, 09:30:21 AM
I bet the person issuing the permit told them to lock all valuables in a vehicle out of sight when not at the site  :eusa_think:
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: mule ears on October 16, 2018, 09:34:20 AM
That's a story I hate to read. In 16 years I've never worried about things like this in the Bend.

Well that is one site that has regularly been closed because of such issues.  Not for sure it was folks from across the river but probably so.  Another example of the disparities on each side of the international line.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: Flash on October 16, 2018, 09:58:30 AM
Theft not robbery. Big difference.

==> Sent from Flash's phone

Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 16, 2018, 10:35:08 AM
With that much property taken, the thief or thieves would have to had transport, wouldnít they?


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 16, 2018, 11:16:35 AM
With that much property taken, the thief or thieves would have to had transport, wouldnít they?

Absolutely vehicle-based. Not likely to have been from across the Rio.

Also not likely the victims did any preliminary investigation to note fresh tracks or the inadvertent leaving of perpetrator info.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: jim2 on October 16, 2018, 11:28:07 AM
One recent trip while driving to the Mariscal Canyon Rim trail head we saw a a man on horseback, dog running alongside, they were headed south. When my friend started taking photos he headed directly away from us. At the time I though it odd that he would be 100 yards out in the desert, roughly paralleling the road. The road would have been much easier on the horse and the dog.
A couple of guys on horseback, maybe a pack horse, could haul off a campsite.
 
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 16, 2018, 12:21:43 PM
Yep. Iíd include horses under ďtransportĒ.  But using a couple of horses would either require an in-park base from which to surveil potential targets or a lot of opportunistic patrolling. Either of those would be pretty ballsy; easy to spot from an overflight. My money is on a vehicle.

A few years ago, I had my entire kit stolen from deep within the Lincoln National Forest by two folks riding an ATV. I was working from a small basecamp Iíd established; came back one evening and everything was just GONE. Nothing left but boot and tire tracks. All I had left was what I was carrying on me that day, which wasnít much. I was in the middle of the forest, not an established campground. I think they stumbled upon my stuff, saw an opportunity, and took it. Assholes.


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 16, 2018, 03:05:57 PM
One recent trip while driving to the Mariscal Canyon Rim trail head we saw a a man on horseback, dog running alongside, they were headed south. When my friend started taking photos he headed directly away from us. At the time I though it odd that he would be 100 yards out in the desert, roughly paralleling the road. The road would have been much easier on the horse and the dog.

Particularly on a shod horse, I'll take the desert any day over riding on pavement.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: jim2 on October 16, 2018, 04:20:26 PM
One recent trip while driving to the Mariscal Canyon Rim trail head we saw a a man on horseback, dog running alongside, they were headed south. When my friend started taking photos he headed directly away from us. At the time I though it odd that he would be 100 yards out in the desert, roughly paralleling the road. The road would have been much easier on the horse and the dog.

Particularly on a shod horse, I'll take the desert any day over riding on pavement.
I should have said we were on Talley Road.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 16, 2018, 04:30:42 PM
Thatís what I figured. Talley makes some sense for cross-border raiding (even on horseback), as itís so close to the river. Dominguez Springs campsite seems a bit far inland for that sort of thing. Itíd be hard to know when it was worth the journey. On the other hand, necessity is the mother of invention....


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: Jalco on October 16, 2018, 05:54:05 PM
On our last trip to the Bend a few years ago (sigh), we hiked Ward Springs Trail.  Parked at the trail head, along with several other cars.  The following morning, "Ranger Rick" dropped by our campsite in the Basin to talk with us.  Apparently, one of the cars at the trail head had been burgled while we were on our hike and he wanted to know if we had seen anything.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 16, 2018, 09:51:17 PM
This was inevitable (I hate to sound so pessimistic).

The question is - what will be done now??
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 16, 2018, 10:56:43 PM
This was inevitable (I hate to sound so pessimistic).

The question is - what will be done now??


Well, a crime was committed by persons and means unknown. Hopefully the crime scene was investigated and hopefully some of those unknowns became less so. If not, Iím not sure much can be done that will do any good.


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 16, 2018, 11:00:49 PM
The question is - what will be done now??

Not.A.Single.Thing.

Consider other border crime in the park:

The Border Patrol does absolutely nothing about the illegal entry by Mexican nationals stocking and selling trinkets at Boquillas overlook, Boquillas Canyon and the Hot Springs trail. Likewise, the NPS does absolutely nothing about the illegal vending occurring at those sites. They all know it is occurring and apprehending the perpetrators would be so simple that shooting fish in a barrel would be harder. Even a junior ranger could figure this scheme out but nothing is done.

I have seen these folks cross the river in both directions at Boquillas, and have even have passed several on the Hot Springs trail who were actively selling (while keeping an eye out for the enforcement that never happens).

However, let a tourist cross the border illegally or be seen buying a trinket from the unattended trinket displays and they are all over you.

I really don't care about the trinket sellers, they only are ignoring one of the many petty (in terms of penalties) rules the NPS has; the BP is a different matter insomuch that illegal entry is occurring (but it's obvious the entrants return south and are not staying).

What I care about is the disparate treatment and the complete avoidance of even a minimal appearance of enforcing the law. The trinket sites are illegal operations and the NPS doesn't even bother removing the items (hell, they even walk right past obvious contraband in their quest for tourist violators or entertainment opportunities) and thus fail even to remove the incentive for the behavior to continue.

It's all a sham process and, undoubtedly, if they are pressed about the situation they would claim lack of manpower (again, even as they ignore and walk right past the displays).
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 16, 2018, 11:32:36 PM
...and a painted ranger jacked me up one time when she found out I intended to concealed carry on the trail...Priorities, Priorities...
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 17, 2018, 10:03:27 AM
...and a painted ranger jacked me up one time when she found out I intended to concealed carry on the trail...Priorities, Priorities...

Well, clearly, it's easier and more important to question lawful behavior (and perhaps in the process find that a tourist might be violating something not obvious) than it is to pursue violations openly conducted.

Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: elhombre on October 17, 2018, 10:11:25 AM
The story that was always told about the incidents at Dominquez is the docile family and law loving Mexicans were coming across to inflict punishment on us Americans because the Park rounded up all of their horses and cows grazing our side.  They would come in and smash cars and steal easily carried stuff.  If you think "what's the big deal of letting their animals graze on our land?"  Then I remind you what the BLM did when Cliven Bundy wanted to continue grazing animals on "his" land. 

This latest is a different M.O. from what I have ever heard of.  It takes time to pack all of someone's camp up.  It sounds like they took everything including the "kitchen sink".  Not a job for a guy or two on horse back.  The Mexican criminals on their side that come across are no different than the criminals on our side. 

Now the question: is it is a justified shooting if you shoot someone in your house trying to steal your stuff?  The government recognizes your tent as a house, and because you rent the space for your tent via the permit fee, the law is required to get a warrant to search your tent.  Is it a justifiable shooting if you drop the SOB stealing your stuff out of your tent?  If they steal your water, are they not threatening your life?  Guess it will come down to the jury.....
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 17, 2018, 02:11:39 PM
The (few available) facts are confusing: who would benefit from taking an entire "suite" of car-camping equipment; who would not benefit from breaking into the car to at least see what was inside?

I'm curious about the speculations of our LEO contributors - it's raining and I'm all out of detective novels.

There is obviously a high expectation of not getting caught.

Some possibilities/impossibilities:

Terroristic Yankee teens/vandalistic young adults: they ought to be in school; and why would they bother to take camping equipment (the possibility exists that they would incriminate themselves by holding stolen stuff that they really have no use for) and not just vandalize things?  Home-schooled ruffians are probably out.

Itinerant ne'er-do-wells: some super losers are known to travel the parks just to take advantage of relatively cheap places to stay; they would have use for the camping equipment; but would they want to be caught holding stolen stuff?; would they want to generate heat?

Cross-Border raiders: if this happened, don't you think the Falcones would know it by now and would have perhaps already taken matters into their own hands?  The Falcone's rice bowl is a tidy little border with no hint of troubles that might scare Yankee dollars away from Boquillas.  I can't imagine them standing quietly by and letting some fool mess things up for them (unless the raiders were bored Mexican soldiers from the tiny little army base near Boquillas).

Passing-through Illegals (pardon my word choices) could use camping equipment, but could not use the extra weight; Border stories abound about these guys making off with food and water, but not with more stuff to tote.

Imagining that what happens in the Bend stays in the Bend, some middle-class, middle-aged White guys lost all reason and accountability.  It was a celebration of completing the ENTIRE Basin Loop gone wrong. 

All of the above assume linear logic and that the bad guys are smart.  All of the above assumes sobriety.

The distance, isolation, and desolation of the Bend seems like it would sort out and keep away the kinds of folks who do this kind of thing for fun.  They tend to congregate in suburbs, 'hoods, McDonald's parking lots, East Texas (I would not put ANYTHING beyond a pickup truck full of East Texas rednecks), and etc. 




Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 17, 2018, 02:19:37 PM
You left out one possibility.    :helicopter:
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 17, 2018, 02:22:33 PM
The story that was always told about the incidents at Dominquez is the docile family and law loving Mexicans were coming across to inflict punishment on us Americans because the Park rounded up all of their horses and cows grazing our side.  They would come in and smash cars and steal easily carried stuff.  If you think "what's the big deal of letting their animals graze on our land?"  Then I remind you what the BLM did when Cliven Bundy wanted to continue grazing animals on "his" land. 

This latest is a different M.O. from what I have ever heard of.  It takes time to pack all of someone's camp up.  It sounds like they took everything including the "kitchen sink".  Not a job for a guy or two on horse back.  The Mexican criminals on their side that come across are no different than the criminals on our side. 

Now the question: is it is a justified shooting if you shoot someone in your house trying to steal your stuff?  The government recognizes your tent as a house, and because you rent the space for your tent via the permit fee, the law is required to get a warrant to search your tent.  Is it a justifiable shooting if you drop the SOB stealing your stuff out of your tent?  If they steal your water, are they not threatening your life?  Guess it will come down to the jury.....

As for morality, my CHL instructor told us never to defend stuff with deadly force (lives and personal safety, yes; stuff, no). 

As for the technicalities, anyone car camping in a desolate and lonely place who found themselves outnumbered by lawbreakers would have an awfully good defense to make about reasonable perceptions of deadly threat (I think). 

If my wife and I were alone out there and stumbled back into a group of people packing up our stuff, I think I'd (i) try to back away into the brush, and then if I couldn't back away to (ii) unholster.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 17, 2018, 02:23:54 PM
You left out one possibility.    :helicopter:

Of course - a practice Black-op in preparation for a precision attack against a Bedouin camp.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 17, 2018, 02:56:56 PM
Now the question: is it is a justified shooting if you shoot someone in your house trying to steal your stuff?  The government recognizes your tent as a house, and because you rent the space for your tent via the permit fee, the law is required to get a warrant to search your tent.  Is it a justifiable shooting if you drop the SOB stealing your stuff out of your tent?  If they steal your water, are they not threatening your life?  Guess it will come down to the jury.....

It all comes down to what is articulated about an incident, supported (or not) by whatever evidence is collectible.

Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 17, 2018, 03:51:37 PM
You left out one possibility.    :helicopter:
   

Of course - a practice Black-op in preparation for a precision attack against a Bedouin camp.

Oh, wonderful. Now I'm worried about being used as a Hellfire target next time I'm out there all by myself.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 17, 2018, 04:29:59 PM
Once (late 70's) I was desert 4-wheeling in southern Arizona.  All of a suddenly the noise and tremors of the end of days came  over me.  I looked up and it was two A-10s flying low over me in perfect tandem.  I caught a look just in time to wave and the nearest pilot waved back.  A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  I just know those guys targeted my jeep for a fun run.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 17, 2018, 05:08:06 PM
A-10ís with the spooky faces. Yikes.


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: wigfall on October 17, 2018, 06:00:58 PM

...Cross-Border raiders: if this happened, don't you think the Falcones would know it by now and would have perhaps already taken matters into their own hands?  The Falcone's rice bowl is a tidy little border with no hint of troubles that might scare Yankee dollars away from Boquillas.  I can't imagine them standing quietly by and letting some fool mess things up for them (unless the raiders were bored Mexican soldiers from the tiny little army base near Boquillas)...


Hmmmm, the area south of Domungues trail head is in Chihuahua(Sinaloa, La Linea), the Falcons are in Coahuila(Zetas) and they hold not that much influence in even San Vicente and definitley not that far from Boq and that close to Sante Elena.  Different cartel JeFe's in charge on the Dominguiz side/ and the area is disputed between the MX droga peeps
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 17, 2018, 06:21:06 PM
That never occurred to me. Thanks, Wigfall!


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Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 17, 2018, 08:37:41 PM
A-10ís with the spooky faces. Yikes.


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The most amazingly loud rumble EVER - I can still feel it.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 17, 2018, 09:59:11 PM
I just know those guys targeted my jeep for a fun run.

Ummm...that was not a fun run, but a low pass.

A fun run would have been accompanied by the braaaaaap of the 30mm Gatling cannon.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 18, 2018, 12:05:48 AM
I just know those guys targeted my jeep for a fun run.

Ummm...that was not a fun run, but a low pass.

A fun run would have been accompanied by the braaaaaap of the 30mm Gatling cannon.

I hope they save some braaaaaaaap for the Zetas, and etc.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: Lance on October 18, 2018, 12:59:37 PM
From the pictures it looks like they were down in the gully at the proper campsite spot, which is somewhat out of view from passersby driving on the River Road.  Seems like a random theft. I've never had a problem at DT1 before, and I've camped several times there.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: presidio on October 18, 2018, 01:05:59 PM
From the pictures it looks like they were down in the gully at the proper campsite spot, which is somewhat out of view from passersby driving on the River Road.  Seems like a random theft.

Probably a target of opportunity.

Criminal scum are everywhere; it's just more shocking in isolated areas, and parks attract all types.

It's easy pickings, even in developed campgrounds.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 18, 2018, 01:08:01 PM
From the pictures it looks like they were down in the gully at the proper campsite spot, which is somewhat out of view from passersby driving on the River Road.  Seems like a random theft.

Probably a target of opportunity.

Criminal scum are everywhere; it's just more shocking in isolated areas, and parks attract all types.

It's easy pickings, even in developed campgrounds.

That's what I think. Much like the random theft of all my stuff in Lincoln National Forest. Every so often an ill wind blows, and those in the wrong place at the wrong time, get the brunt of it. Whatever happened, let's hope karma is real and the jerks get their just deserts somewhere down the road.
Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: Hang10er on October 18, 2018, 02:50:31 PM


I'm curious about the speculations of our LEO contributors - it's raining and I'm all out of detective novels.




I'm law enforcement.  Here's my thoughts.  I too first noticed the thread was incorrectly labeled robbery, when it's just a theft.  The degree of which is determined by the value of the items stolen.  Robbery is a theft from SOMEONE.

Secondly, I really didn't pay much attention to it.  I noted it in my mind as another reason to be careful.  I know you shouldn't have to, but I take a lot more precautions after 25 years as a police officer.  I seldom leave much of anything in my campsite. 

I thought, glad no one was hurt and then I moved on to see if Homer Wilson has updated his One Helluva Bender report.



Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: House Made of Dawn on October 18, 2018, 03:04:58 PM


I'm curious about the speculations of our LEO contributors - it's raining and I'm all out of detective novels.




I'm law enforcement.  Here's my thoughts.  I too first noticed the thread was incorrectly labeled robbery, when it's just a theft.  The degree of which is determined by the value of the items stolen.  Robbery is a theft from SOMEONE.

Secondly, I really didn't pay much attention to it.  I noted it in my mind as another reason to be careful.  I know you shouldn't have to, but I take a lot more precautions after 25 years as a police officer.  I seldom leave much of anything in my campsite. 

I thought, glad no one was hurt and then I moved on to see if Homer Wilson has updated his One Helluva Bender report.

Man, a life well-lived is really all about priorities.  :notworthy:

Title: Re: Recent Backcountry Campsite Robbery
Post by: dprather on October 18, 2018, 10:09:35 PM
The tendency toward the normalcy bias makes me skeptical of explanations that involve vague generalities about "stuff happens."   I'm not disagreeing, I'm just observing that "stuff happens" for some reason or another.