Becky and I enjoy us some Geocaching, even though we haven’t done it in a while. (That will change this year, I swear!) We even have a window sticker on our car announcing our love of this activity. So it’s always exciting when our hobby gets some attention in the media!
A PennDOT worker salting roads about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday saw a woman in dark clothes walk down a Bethlehem hill, pause at a tree along Hellertown Road near the Interstate 78 overpass, turn around and get on a bus.
Sidney Reph followed the woman’s footprints in the snow, and beneath the tree found a tarp hiding an ammunition box with a combination lock.
He told police he “got away as fast as possible” because he thought it could be a bomb. Firefighters, police officers and bomb squad technicians secured the area while investigating the mysterious box with “This is a game” written on the front.
They eventually determined that the box was part of a treasure hunt in which players use coordinates and a Global Positioning System receiver, or GPS unit, to determine where hidden objects are.
Enthusiasts say the game — geocaching — inspires people to get off the couch, grab a GPS unit and tramp through the great outdoors.
Police wouldn’t say whether Guth might be charged or with what crime. But they and fire officials fear it could cost thousands of dollars for bomb squad technicians to examine mysterious packages hidden in the city.
Police Capt. John Sarnicky said the department wants to know where the caches are. If police knew the locations, he said, they would still have to investigate calls about suspicious packages but could possibly tailor their response.
“Just because something is marked as being a game doesn’t mean that’s what it is,” Sarnicky said. “Bad people have a tendency to try and disguise things, and we have no choice but to treat it like it could be a bomb.”
This is absolutely true. It very well could have been a terrorist trying to wreak utter havoc at…some tree in the middle of nowhere. Having done so, America, which is covered with practically dozens of similar trees, would be plunged into a nightmare of leafy fear.
Chernaskey added, “From the bomb squad side of it, it’s something we really frown upon, because all these calls could cause havoc throughout the city. In this day and age, with people worried about terrorists, this isn’t the smartest thing to do.”
People, what you have to understand is, 9/11 changed everything. Sure, there was a time when we could consider boxes our friends, and not have to look upon them with fear and suspicion. But now we know there are bad people out there, people who might put something evil in a box and then label it, like, “puppies” or something. Sure, that item by the side of the road looks like an empty pack of cigarettes, but wouldn’t you feel safer knowing it had been detonated by the bomb squad, just in case? After all, if we don’t jump at the sight of our own shadows and warn people against doing anything that anyone anywhere might construe as sort of looking like something vaguely terrorish from a distance, then the terrorists have…well…you know what they’ve done.