Trailhead robberies on the rise

Trailhead crime on the increaseI’ve been noticing more glass splattered on the ground at trailhead parking areas, and my roomate has heard of an increase of car break-ins in Millcreek Canyon. So I wasn’t too suprised the other day when after a run in the Red Butte area, I returned to find my wallet and cell phone stolen from my glove box….

Old trailhead strategies

I’ve always recognized trailheads as potential crime scenes. It’s part of the reason i drive a beat up scraper of a vehicle; the thing looks so dilapidated that I hoped no one would suspect anything of value to reside within. I also know, from experience, that glove boxes are the first place a thief will look, so I’ve always opted for more hidden, difficult to access spots. The problem with this is that you have to stash before you get to the trailhead, so foresight is essential.

The Reality

Older cars dont’ deter thieves, they do the opposite as they are typically easier to break into and are less likely to have a car alarm. Hiding places work, if you remember to hide ahead of time. Last saturday I didn’t, and after a quick scan of the area, I determined it’d be okay to stash in the glove box, just this once…

I was wrong. My phone and wallet were gone. by the time I found someone with a phone I could borrow to call my credit card companies, the thieves had had my stuff for less than an hour. They had rung up over $400 in gas charges on 2 cards, probably offering to fill up strangers gas tanks with my cards in exchange for cash. One of the cards was even PIN protected, but certain gas stations will allow you to fill up without using the PIN.

$400 isn’t a ton of money, but it’s a lot to just suddenly lose, along with the cost of the cell phone and even worse, the russian leather wallet my parents brought back from a trip to Petersburgh.

The good news, sort of, is that they didn’t break a window. I had left them cracked to prevent the car from cranking up to 160 degrees, so they either had a wire, or a slim jim as all 4 doors were locked.

New Trailhead anti-theft strategies

Remember that James Bond movie where a spy tries to break into Bond’s white Lotus and the whole thing just explodes? That’d be good. And, losing my car to the cause would hurt quite as bad as the $80,000 Lotus going up in flames. But now that I think about it more thoroughly, I sure would hate to accidentally shrapenel innocent bystanders getting ready for their day on the trail…

I think the best strategy is not leaving anything in the car at all. Instead of a wallet, I’ve been taking the essentials: a drivers license, a credit card and some cash bundled together with a rubber band. This is easy enough to have in a zippered or velcroed pocket as you run. And you have the added benefit of not having a wallet that surges up to 3 inches thick, and you’ll have an easily identified corpse should you fall off a cliff on your run.

About the cellphone, and times when you absolutely have to leave something behind (think travelling) … Well, again, here lies the problem. I’m debating between having a small safe bolted to the floor under my car seat, and maybe just creating a pocket under the driver seat that you can easily flip your stuff into while you’re just sitting there. That be handy for if you suddenly needed to make a bottle of your favorite beverage dissappear as well.

But the safe sounds good. Then there’d be a place for you camera stuff, a small handgun, your blingin gold chain, and what-not. I bet Glenns Key’s on State street has something like it..

One thought on “Trailhead robberies on the rise

  1. Brian Pond

    What’s up FF? I’m over in Japan now, finally after talking about moving all those years. I did hit up a ton of skiing this last huge Utah winter. Actually, I left on 12 July – the day of your Baldy trip.

    Anyway, yeah – my Jeep got broken into at the bottom of Tanners in May. I went up Tanners, over the back, skied the East Face of the Twin and out Broads. Car shuttle with another guy. Got back and my window was broken and something like $1200 on the credit cards. Awesome. I got all the credit card money back, but the cash plus the $150 window I didn’t get back. Plus the wallet and the stuff in it. F-in Utards.

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