Is theft common?

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Cracked Key
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Is theft common?

Post by Cracked Key » Tue Feb 13, 2018 6:45 pm

I realize that anything is possible on the playa but there's clearly a strong bond between true burners and the spirit of BM. I imagine some people might get the urge to take something valuable (eyes of the beholder) whether out of impulse or desperation. The ultimate question is, if things do get stolen what do they normally steal? I've seen from some other posts that bikes can easily disappear though if I end up not having one, what else might go missing?
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TT120
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by TT120 » Tue Feb 13, 2018 7:43 pm

While some thefts do happen, I'm not sure it's any worse than any other city. Most thefts are opportunistic so if you keep valuables out of sight and or locked up, you should be fine.

Bikes are probably the number one thing that gets misplaced or stolen and I'm betting generators and cell phones are a close second.
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Ratty
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Ratty » Tue Feb 13, 2018 9:37 pm

Liquor and cigarettes shouldn't be left unattended. Cell phones may be irresistible to a thief. We put everything away when we go out. At night we leave some lights on in our tents and shade. They're solar so might as well put em to good use. Mainly we don't have anything to steal.
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by motskyroonmatick » Tue Feb 13, 2018 10:29 pm

I've been to 14 consecutive burns and have not had anything stolen. I do lock up my bike and generator and stow away appealing things on the big burn nights. That being said unlocked bikes have been stolen right out of our bike racks before. Always lock your bike when not in use.
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AntiM
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by AntiM » Wed Feb 14, 2018 5:56 am

Someone stole our mannequin mailbox last year. I am still heartbroken over the loss of Fernando.

We have yet to have someone rummage through camp, but it happens. Love thy neighbor, but lock your valuables up, especially on Burn Night.

We do leave a cheap beer cooler "out" as a decoy.

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Token
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Token » Wed Feb 14, 2018 9:16 am

Like any high-density city of 70000 people, crime happens.

Some is rather innocent; like borrowing an unattended sledge hammer cuz you were pounding in big stakes and you brought a tiny 16 Oz carpenter hammer ... you have every intention of returning it but as you were finishing up the most amazing art car serving ghost pepper infused vodka shots comes by and sweeps you to the winds.

Some are more sinister; like a douchebag drugged out/ drunk as a skunk moron wandering your camp in some far out trip sees your boom-box and decides they need theme music as they stumble their way along. Most bike theft falls in this bucket.

Then there is the evil fucks; folks that have a purpose of stealing valuable stuff like nice bikes, generators, laptops, phones, tools, anything that has easy resale value. They do it all week opportunistically but then ratchet it up for burn night on Saturday and do it systemically.

And finally, there is the “I lost it but I’m so dehydrated, exhausted, confused, that I truly believe I’ve been burglarized”. That also happens.

You get it all, most is just brain farts and jackassery, some is malice.

Remember the rule: if you can’t afford for something to be lost, stolen, or destroyed - don’t bring it to BM.

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Dr. Pyro
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Dr. Pyro » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:17 am

I've had my heart stolen a few times. Does that count?

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AntiM
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by AntiM » Wed Feb 14, 2018 1:02 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:I've had my heart stolen a few times. Does that count?
And here we thought you simply were constructed without one. Poor darling. I leave mine at home.

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Savannah
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Savannah » Wed Feb 14, 2018 2:41 pm

Cracked Key wrote:I realize that anything is possible on the playa but there's clearly a strong bond between true burners and the spirit of BM. I imagine some people might get the urge to take something valuable (eyes of the beholder) whether out of impulse or desperation. The ultimate question is, if things do get stolen what do they normally steal? I've seen from some other posts that bikes can easily disappear though if I end up not having one, what else might go missing?
Yep--bikes, nice tools left out, unattended bottles of alcohol too close to the street, or generators not chained down. If valuables like phones, wallets or iDevices are left in plain sight in an unlocked vehicle, those also sometimes go walking off, especially on Burn Night. My campmate in 2009 lost her ipod that way.

I lock up my bike (even just to itself if necessary, so it can't be ridden) so I've been lucky; nothing of mine has been stolen, to my immediate recollection. I DID once have an expensive pair of scissors get borrowed and then innocently passed around, until the original person who borrowed them was unable to trace them and they were simply unfindable. That was heckin' annoying. (I no longer lend things out unless the person I'm lending to knows they may not lend the object to anyone else, & why. The object has to return to me first, then someone new--with the same understanding--can borrow them.)

Token's summation of the different kinds of theft--opportunistic, organized, or not-actually-theft at all--is really good.
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tatonka
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by tatonka » Fri Feb 16, 2018 3:35 pm

Dr. Pyro wrote:I've had my heart stolen a few times. Does that count?


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XPTom
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by XPTom » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:35 pm

it is common for bikes to be "borrowed without permission" ....because many think if you didn't lock it you gave them permission.... eye of the beholder thing
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

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Savannah
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Savannah » Wed Feb 28, 2018 6:29 pm

XPTom wrote:it is common for bikes to be "borrowed without permission" ....because many think if you didn't lock it you gave them permission.... eye of the beholder thing
Yes. So always lock your bike, even if just to itself so it can't be ridden. Of course--don't expect a super-expensive, recognizeably nice bike to remain intact if locked only to itself, because it can still be lifted and carried short distances, but self-locking will work for cheap bikes, which are what most burner bikes should be anyway.

. . . No one really thinks they are "borrowing without permission" (though they might rationalise it as such) unless it's a community "Yellow Bike" (they're bright pea green).
Savannah wrote:I DID once have an expensive pair of scissors get borrowed and then innocently passed around, until the original person who borrowed them was unable to trace them and they were simply unfindable. That was heckin' annoying. (I no longer lend things out unless the person I'm lending to knows they may not lend the object to anyone else, & why. The object has to return to me first, then someone new--with the same understanding--can borrow them.) '
Oh my God, y'all, my dear friend Motsyroonmatick just mailed me a really lovely new pair of fancy titanium scissors because 1) he worried he was the one who ran off with them (HE WASN'T), and 2) even if he wasn't, he felt like that injustice should be rectified!

Too amazing. :shock: :D
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Wigwam
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Wigwam » Wed Feb 28, 2018 7:43 pm

I would agree with most of the advice here. There are three categories of "stolen". Things that are taken. Things that are lost. Things that are misplaced, borrowed, left somewhere...

I generally recommend not bringing anything that can't be replaced. Don't bring your antique family heirloom ring or dishware. Bring a spare set of keys and secure them somewhere you can find them. Lock things in your car or hide them that are eye candy. Lock your bike. Every time. Have a spare key for that.

Finally, remember, if you set if free and it doesn't come back....yeah...whatever...
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XPTom
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by XPTom » Thu Mar 01, 2018 8:46 am

Savannah wrote:....... unless it's a community "Yellow Bike" (they're bright pea green).......
When I learned the yellow bikes
were green I knew this community was special
How many old burners does it take to change a light bulb? Just one to change the bulb..... and five more to reminisce how good the old bulb was....

flexibility is the key to success....... and poor planning is the key to flexibility

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dragonpilot
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by dragonpilot » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:06 pm

One of the best ways to get your bike taken: don't lock it when using the porta potties. "But I was only in there for 10 minutes!"
Don't bore your friends with all your troubles. Tell your enemies instead, for they will delight in hearing about them.

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THEFT AT BM 2018

Post by Viva60 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:55 pm

I went to Burning Man 2018 to celebrate my 60th birthday. My son and an old friend joined me. We set up our tent on Sunday night on J street between 6:45 and 7:00. We shared lovely conversation and cocktails with neighbors and took in the sights. On Wednesday, I drove to Reno to take my friend to the airport. On Thursday, when I returned, after sitting at the gate for 10 hours in a dust storm, I found my camp demolished. Three bikes, my cooler full of food, bike rack, and sledge hammer were gone. The inside of the tent was ransacked. Liquor, Red Bull, protein bars, and costumes were gone. All of my bins had been upended. Can goods and clothing were thrown about. I was in shock. This was not the life changing adventure I was hoping for. (I sought out a ranger who's only reaction was to direct me to the mental health area as I was obviously distressed.) I drove from Ohio to attend this event. My friend flew in from Maryland. As everyone one knows, a lot of time and money goes into preparing for the trip. Nowhere in my research was I warned that something like this could happen. I gathered up what I could, and left, brokenhearted.

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lucky420
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Re: THEFT AT BM 2018

Post by lucky420 » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:33 pm

Viva60 wrote:
Thu Sep 06, 2018 4:55 pm
I went to Burning Man 2018 to celebrate my 60th birthday. My son and an old friend joined me. We set up our tent on Sunday night on J street between 6:45 and 7:00. We shared lovely conversation and cocktails with neighbors and took in the sights. On Wednesday, I drove to Reno to take my friend to the airport. On Thursday, when I returned, after sitting at the gate for 10 hours in a dust storm, I found my camp demolished. Three bikes, my cooler full of food, bike rack, and sledge hammer were gone. The inside of the tent was ransacked. Liquor, Red Bull, protein bars, and costumes were gone. All of my bins had been upended. Can goods and clothing were thrown about. I was in shock. This was not the life changing adventure I was hoping for. (I sought out a ranger who's only reaction was to direct me to the mental health area as I was obviously distressed.) I drove from Ohio to attend this event. My friend flew in from Maryland. As everyone one knows, a lot of time and money goes into preparing for the trip. Nowhere in my research was I warned that something like this could happen. I gathered up what I could, and left, brokenhearted.
Oh how awful. I’m really sorry this happened to you :(
Oh my god, it's HUGE!

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Token
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Token » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:06 pm

Oh, wow, what a bad situation.

I’m sad you have to deal with something like this.

It’s a bit of a pickle for me to imagine something like this happening without some kind of extenuating circumstance.

It has not been very common for folks to leave for a couple days with a camp unattended.

I’ve been on these boards and it’s predecessor for 20 years and it’s the first I have heard of something like this.

Is it possible that in your absence the winds and storm that forced that 10 hour closure was a factor in the carnage?

I may be reaching for straws here trying to maybe shed some possibilities other than malice, for example wind doing the initial damage and then some manor of jackassery ensuing from the random mob once a mess was started by Mother Nature. Winds and failed tents, camps and canopies does happen every year.

Point is, I know you are probably pissed, hurt and disappointed, but end of the day all you have is the aftermath and not necessarily all the details that led to it. I know, not much solace there but at least an opportunity to look at things from another angle.

Now even if wind was a factor or initiator of the disaster, it’s still a real shitty situation to loot, no matter the motive.

Big hug from another ol’ man.

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Canoe
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Canoe » Fri Sep 07, 2018 12:51 am

OMG!

Only thing I can think of is someone thinking you'd gone and abandoned your camp/belongings and then jackassery ensued. I hope you made a police report. Would have been interesting to hear what your BRC neighbours had to say about what they may have seen or heard. Perhaps they'll see your post and provide any info they may have.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:00 pm

My guess is that it was assumed you'd abandoned your camp.
Also, Burning Man is not the utopia many people seem to think. Especially modern-day Black Rock City, which is very different from the Black Rock City that once existed.
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bradtem
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by bradtem » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:53 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:00 pm
My guess is that it was assumed you'd abandoned your camp.
On a Wednesday? I don't think there is any reason to guess that it was assumed he had abandoned the camp. Why give any defence to a thief and asshole.

I think thieves on the playa are far worse than ones in the regular world. If you steal from me out here, you're scum, but I just go to the store and get another one (for most things.) You steal important things from me on the playa, like bikes or generators or whatnot, and you've cost me far more than the cost of those items. The guy above gave up and went home, it ruined his burn.

I had thieves steal my art installation my last burn. Can't just go out and buy another one. Anybody steals (or pretends to "borrow") on the playa deserves whatever punishment can be given.

Also, viva60, you're an astonishing friend to give somebody a ride to the Reno airport! Cost you a whole day at the event (and this theft) when in 15 minutes I would be shocked if they could not have hitched a ride at the gate, even on a Wednesday.
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Canoe
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Canoe » Sat Sep 08, 2018 8:04 pm

bradtem wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:53 pm
Captain Goddammit wrote:
Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:00 pm
My guess is that it was assumed you'd abandoned your camp.
On a Wednesday? I don't think there is any reason to guess that it was assumed he had abandoned the camp. Why give any defence to a thief and asshole....
I believe you've misinterpreted from extrapolating from what both myself and Captain said. Neither offered a defence. There is no defence for raiding, stealing and vandalizing. We're just clutching at straws trying to figure what on earth could have gone through someone's mind that would lead to them thinking that was a thing to do. How do you explain a WTF?
Video games are giving kids unrealistic expectations on how many swords they can carry.
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... but don't harm the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time. He and I have an agreement.

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bradtem
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by bradtem » Sun Sep 09, 2018 12:42 am

I hear you. What I was trying to say is that there is no need to imagine any reasonable motive. Sadly, the overwhelmingly likely explanation is they were scumbags. It is tremendously saddening to see something like this make somebody give up and go home. For most of us our experiences of the community are wonderful, people who would give you the shirt off their backs if they were wearing shirts.

Of course, it's been a long path, something that happens as a community grows larger. I remember being shocked in 1999 to see that the area around the burn circle was littered with beer cans after the burn, it had not been before. And while I've encountered many d-bags (though the tagging and theft of my art installations has been the worst) overall experiences with fellow burners are vastly good.

I suppose the rangers might keep a numerical count of how many incidents they encounter, and know the trends. Of course, most incidents don't get reported to rangers or LEOs; one knows when there is nothing productive they can do.
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Captain Goddammit
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by Captain Goddammit » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:36 pm

Oh yeah, whoever did it needs to be tied up and left on the playa after the event is over.
15-20 years ago, Honda generators got left out on the open playa powering unattended art installations. Seriously, I saw it.
Now, I lock down everything at all tiles.
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motskyroonmatick
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by motskyroonmatick » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:34 pm

We moved a vehicle on the perimeter of camp Monday to be closer to the owners stuff for teardown and overnight someone moved 2 stolen tents and contents also stolen from camps in to the spot where the vehicle was. Our campers surprised the thief in the tents as they were talking about how the fuck the tents got there... but he ran off and no-one was even thinking of getting a picture because we really didn't know what was going on. We got Rangers involved, returned the items we could find owners for and hauled off and disposed of the remnants. Fucked up but we dealt with it. More people more crazy shit. Lesson learned -- maintain hard borders.
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unjonharley
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by unjonharley » Mon Sep 10, 2018 3:08 pm

First rule, do not take it to Burning Man if you can not afford to lose it .. Not only theft but wind will remove some very large items .. Run a long loose cable through everything .. Just to keep the honest, honest ..
I'm the contraptioneer your mother warned you about.

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DangerMouse
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Re: Is theft common?

Post by DangerMouse » Wed Sep 12, 2018 1:51 pm

I treat Burning Man like I do any other camping trip.

I don't leave items of opportunity lying around for others to easily abscond with.
"Well, then, " the Cat went on, "you see a dog growls when it's angry, and wags its tail when it's pleased. Now I growl when I'm pleased, and wag my tail when I'm angry. Therefore I'm mad."

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