Possible Theft ring, South Dunes

Imperial Sand Dune Recreation Area • Including Buttercup & Gordon's Well

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Possible Theft ring, South Dunes

Post by Larry Jowdy »

The TRT received this information from the BLM

Imperial Sand Dunes, CA – Vehicle Pursuit; Assist Border Patrol –

On November 16, 2003, two El Centro Rangers were patrolling near Midway Campground at Imperial Sand Dunes when they observed two Border Patrol units following a maroon Chevy Tahoe eastbound on Grey’s Well Road.

Border Patrol had earlier advised Rangers of several vehicles, which had been reported to have illegally entered from Mexico, or were getting ready to cross into the United States near Midway Campground.

Based on this information, Rangers attempted to assist Border Patrol with a vehicle stop, at which time both Rangers and the pursuing Agents activated their emergency lights and sirens. The vehicle immediately picked up speed and failed to yield to both Rangers and Border Patrol Units.

The suspect vehicle continued south toward Mexico at a high rate of speed when it forced one Ranger patrol unit to correct itself in order not to collide with it, and into a large drop-off causing some minor front end damage to the patrol unit. The other patrol units continued south, attempting to stop the suspect vehicle until it crossed the US/Mexico boundary, and pursuing officers were unable to follow.

It was later learned from witness statements that the suspect vehicle had been casing several campsites in the Buttercup/Midway campgrounds. Also, recent thefts of ATVs and equipment have been occurring in these areas as more and more off-road enthusiasts and campers have been arriving in the South Dunes.

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Post by Fuzzy Knight »

Larry

This has been an ongoing problem for at least 10 years that I know of. At Gordens Well We were actually sitting in camp around a dieing fire when we noticed some shadows approching a bunch of bikes, all chained together, at the far end of camp. We then heard the chains rattle and we all quietly approched the shadows and asked if we could help them! POOOOOF they were gone in a flash. Oh by the way Yes we were all armed. We have also had groups of Mexs approch camp and drive around us looking at our bikes. When approched they will take off.
This is not a new thing but just maybe getting bolder.
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Post by Poiks »

I'm just glad they take off when approached. What do you do if you're alone, and they don't take off? As I understand it, it's illegal to use a firearm in defense of property in CA.

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Post by Larry Jowdy »

Being within a stones throw of the border, I'm not alarmed that this is an on-going problem, I first heard of instances of theft around 12 - 15 years ago.


Jon,

You're correct, you can not use deadly force to protect property.

The rule for using deadly force is very simple.
If you are in fear of your life, or the life of another, deadly force is justified.

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Post by Jaybo »

Poiks wrote:I'm just glad they take off when approached. What do you do if you're alone, and they don't take off? As I understand it, it's illegal to use a firearm in defense of property in CA.
If they don't take off and they are threatening you and you feel you are in danger it's no longer a property crime. Another good adage is dead men tell no lies. Shooting someone in the back pushing away your bike away would be a bad thing, and would be considered, I would think anyway, at least manslaughter.

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Post by Poiks »

OK, so here's another question. Say you're in the dunes and you encounter a bunch of guys trying to make off with your dune buggy. They see you but don't flee. Since it's apparently legal to shoot in the dunes, would it be legal to fire a "warning" shot into the sand? That would sure as heck get their attention and the attention of those in nearby campsites.

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Post by Fuzzy Knight »

Guys
On the gun thing. I personally consider some one who steals property to be some what lower than Whale Poop at the bottom of the ocean. If I felt threatened I would not hesitate to rid the welfare roles of another name. That is just me. This is in no way an opinion of the ASA. Just mine.
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Post by Larry Jowdy »

Speaking from a law enforcement point of view, it was against policy to fire a warning shot.

But, since you're not law enforcement, and neither am I since retirement, it would certainly get their attention!!!!

You could always claim "accidental discharge" and, would they report the warning shot since they would have to report their illegal activity, probably not, but maybe they might sue you for scaring the poop out of them!!!!!

They could also lie and state that you were the aggressor!!! Tough call

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Post by Poiks »

Larry Jowdy TRT wrote:You could always claim "accidental discharge" and, would they report the warning shot since they would have to report their illegal activity, probably not, but maybe they might sue you for scaring the poop out of them!!!!!
I've always figured that a warning shot would result in a visit from the rangers shortly thereafter. So I was wondering if telling them that I fired the shot to scare off the thieves would result in my being cuffed and hauled away.

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Post by Larry Jowdy »

Jon,

This is a tough call.

In the city, a person """"might'"" be hooked up for illegal discharge of a firearm but, since it's supposidly legal to shoot at Glamis (away from campsites) I'll check with Bob Zimmer next time I speak to him.

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Post by Jaybo »

Poiks wrote:OK, so here's another question. Say you're in the dunes and you encounter a bunch of guys trying to make off with your dune buggy. They see you but don't flee. Since it's apparently legal to shoot in the dunes, would it be legal to fire a "warning" shot into the sand? That would sure as heck get their attention and the attention of those in nearby campsites.
Warning shots are VERY effective :twisted: but then so is the sound of a pump shotgun when you are jacking a round into the pipe O:) :twisted: :-$ If there is no law against shooting in the dunes I'd see nothing wrong with it, and it's not likely that a LEO is gonna be hanging around to witness you doing it. If they are, they had dang well better be going after the bike thieves!

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Post by Jaybo »

Poiks wrote: I've always figured that a warning shot would result in a visit from the rangers shortly thereafter. So I was wondering if telling them that I fired the shot to scare off the thieves would result in my being cuffed and hauled away.
Shot? What shot? :-$ :twisted:

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Post by Sandemon »

ANYTIME you pull out a gun you had better be ready to use it. Warning shots are something that dead people did to try and scare off someone with a gun :!: If you decide to carry a gun it needs to be in a safe place and the only time it should leave that safe place is to shoot targets or to kill someone. If you cannot kill someone leave the gun put away :!: :!: :twisted: 8) :)
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Post by sandsnake »

I once had a retired police Capt. tell me never to pull a gun out unless you are prepared to use it. He also said there should never be any warning shots, if you pull it out, you shoot to kill and thats the only time you pull it out.

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Post by OBSESSED »

Sandemon wrote:ANYTIME you pull out a gun you had better be ready to use it. Warning shots are something that dead people did to try and scare off someone with a gun :!: If you decide to carry a gun it needs to be in a safe place and the only time it should leave that safe place is to shoot targets or to kill someone. If you cannot kill someone leave the gun put away :!: :!: :twisted: 8) :)
I agree....

I believe 2 years ago, when someone was shot (killed) in the washes, he had just fired a warning shot over someone's head that was screwing around with his property.

Problem was the other guy was also packing and feared for his life and shot back.

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Post by Poiks »

All very interesting. So...

It's 2:30 AM, off-weekend at G. Everyone in your camp is asleep in their trailers and motor homes.

You hear sounds outside. You look out the window and you see four guys around your buggy/quad/whatever, starting to push it onto a flatbed trailer. Your gun is in a cabinet, within reach. What do you do?

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Post by LoBuck »

Poiks wrote:All very interesting. So...

It's 2:30 AM, off-weekend at G. Everyone in your camp is asleep in their trailers and motor homes.

You hear sounds outside. You look out the window and you see four guys around your buggy/quad/whatever, starting to push it onto a flatbed trailer. Your gun is in a cabinet, within reach. What do you do?
Take the gun out of the cabinet, dial 911, make some noise, turn on some lights.. keep looking out the window

BTW - what does CA law say about carrying an unconcealed weapon?
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Post by FunRunner »

A pump shotgun is a good weapon; someone outside at night would probably be watching doors of campers and you have to assume they are armed. If you don't have a clear way out of the camper away from their vision, stay put or consider a window exit on the opposite side of the camper; don't become a dead hero; be sure to note where the light is coming from; you could be illuminated like a lit sign; when you have the opportunity, let em have it with the old pump shotgun; at a distance, it won't kill them, but depending on the load it'll cut em in half if they hang around. I wouldn't mess around with a hand gun except as a backup; if you're going to carry a weapon, it should be a good one with adequate rounds; a 9mm auto would be good, but I would choose the shotgun 1st, not being a gun person. If this type thing continues, strategies should be considered and contingencies planned. You can't get too gung ho! some trigger hungry mother might shoot someone returning to camp late some night. Sneaks such as thieves and terrorists cannot be tolerated. If you are in a camp with others, this is an instance where radio communication would be helpful; just be sure to stay calm and have a good plan. Also, remember if some shooting does go down and you are outside with a gun, others in your camp may not realize who you are and may not be able to see you; so the best plan would be to try to alert others if at all possible; also try to determine how many are outside; what you don't know is if there are others waiting at a distance. Another plan might be to hit the generator and turn on the outside light(s). that might spook em off before they accomplish their mission, depending on how far along and how determined they are. Have everybody inside hit the floor to the opposite side away from the intruders; you know a radio with a speaker in camp wouldn't be a bad idea; if you got on that speaker and started hollering, that might in conjunction with the other activity also spook them.

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Post by DuneRookie »

While it is everyones right to protect themselves I would err on caution. One misguided shot fired could end up in someone else's trailer or tent. So I hope there are a lot of good shooters out there. Here is a thought. My truck has a panic alarm as part of the security system and it is very loud. Just hit the panic button on your remote. That should be enough to scare away anybody doing anything as well as alert the rest of the neighboring campers that something is not right. At that point every one close enough will be vigilant and help keep an eye out for no gooders.

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Post by like2bcrazy »

I don't know if this would work but it's non-lethal and would probably at least slow them down a bit.

http://www.selfdefenseweapons.com/bear-pepper-spray.htm

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Post by Mongoose »

Like2bcrazy wrote:I don't know if this would work but it's non-lethal and would probably at least slow them down a bit.

http://www.selfdefenseweapons.com/bear-pepper-spray.htm

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You spray them and they shoot you :roll:

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Post by like2bcrazy »

You spray them with 20% pepper spray and they won't be able to see you to shoot you.

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Post by FunRunner »

Dune Rookie:
While it is everyones right to protect themselves I would err on caution. One misguided shot fired could end up in someone else's trailer or tent.
That's good thinking and probably in most cases, the way to go; a situation where you might use a fire arm is not likely; your panic alarm is a good method of scaring someone off, although if you are alone, it may not work; the idea of turning on outside lights, using the loudspeaker and your panic alarm are good things to have in place and consider before the weapon, although once you employ one of those alarms, you are probably not going to have any opportunity of surprise; and saying that, the element of surprise may be tough in that situation; the biggest item being, you don't know what you're facing when you venture out. For sure I wouldn't shoot toward the camp if it ever came down using a weapon; hopefully it never does, as I have not handled very many weapons; and for that very reason would be a reason not to pull one out. it would be a last resort type issue, but I can't see letting someone get away clean unless you are totally outnumbered; being close to the border does present the problem of tracking. All this does point out the practicality of camping in some numbers and cosidering there has been a problem, it would be good to discuss with the others the procedure to follow if the situation arose.

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Post by L&L Corvairs »

Poiks wrote:All very interesting. So...

It's 2:30 AM, off-weekend at G. Everyone in your camp is asleep in their trailers and motor homes.

You hear sounds outside. You look out the window and you see four guys around your buggy/quad/whatever, starting to push it onto a flatbed trailer. Your gun is in a cabinet, within reach. What do you do?
It is much more of a personal moral question: Is the stuff outside really worth dieing or killing or going to jail for? When we are all sitting calmly at our desks, (desk chair quarterbacks, so to speak) it is easy to say, NOPE, my life is more important....I'll call 9-11 and hope to get it back.....

HOWEVER, in the heat of the moment.....I think I might be inclined to protect my personal property with deadly force. I also think we should be ALLOWED to protect our personal property with deadly force.

I would certainly argue that if I were out in the dunes, and someone tried to take my ride, I would consider that a personal threat. Being stranded out there could be fatal, depending on circumstances, just from the elements. And I agree...if you pull the weapon, don't hesitate to use it.

He who hesitates....DIES.
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Post by Mr Big Wrench »

Someone on this board said "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6" and I agree with that. I'm sure the moralists would disagree, but I feel that you should be able to protect your possessions and family. Also make sure your Wife/Girlfriend can use that weapon with some accuracy, The Judge/Jury probably would be more inclined to think she felt threatened by some male SCUMS stealing your property. I happen to live VERY close to some recent thefts in the Riverside/Perris area and it bugs the $*** out of me that I could be next and Not be able to protect Myself/Property/etc. And YES I would call 911 first, but the local sheriff are streched way to thin and may not get there in time. I wish the shotgun Pepper ball was available to those who could pass some training on the use of the stuff.

Just my .02 worth
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Post by LTZ 400 »

Please keep something in mind if you're going to fire a warning shot. Fire into the sand. The sand will absorb the shot and you'll have the same effect of making the bad guy crap his drawers.
If you fire into the air that bullet has to come down somewhere. I know the dunes are sparsely populated but who wants to hear about their warning shot coming down into a camp and hitting a kid?

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Post by Sandemon »

Your warning shot should hit the thief right between the eyes or center of their chest :twisted: 8) :)
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Post by rhartley »

Always back up your shot with a second or third if needed. Once is never enough.

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Post by Poiks »

Jaybo wrote:Warning shots are VERY effective :twisted: but then so is the sound of a pump shotgun when you are jacking a round into the pipe
I have heard that so many times that I just bought a Remington 870. Seems like it may be the ideal firearm for home/camp protection.
LTZ 400 wrote:Please keep something in mind if you're going to fire a warning shot. Fire into the sand.
No doubt...that was the way I suggested handling a warning shot in my original post about warning shots:
Poiks wrote:Since it's apparently legal to shoot in the dunes, would it be legal to fire a "warning" shot into the sand?

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Post by Stereo Guy »

I have a train horn on my truck and if you panic the alarm I promise you will have the attention of people anywhere around. Also I have a way of wiring my toys to the alarm if something gets moved we will know. If all else fails I'm not against a gun.
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Post by Sandfreakintastic »

Dead men don't talk....
Things that don't last for me:
Any transmission (type 1 thru mendeola)
CV joints, Ring and pinions, Frame welds and Women!
At least now I can afford to replace the buggy parts!

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Post by FunRunner »

Stereo Guy:
I have a train horn on my truck
Oh geez, those things will ruin your ears; Rick Wright blew his in my driveway and I was standing right next to his truck; the sound is deafening; you probably wouldn't be the most popular guy around after using your train horn; when everyone got over the shock and asked what the h*** was that all about? and you're trying to explain there was someone out there messing with the toys, but nobody is around...... :lol: :lol:

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