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Lock em up... a long story

Desert_Captain
Explorer II
Explorer II
We recently moved to Payson AZ, a small town {20K folks} that sits at 5,000' 75 miles north of Phoenix. One of the many reasons we made the move last year was the friendly small town vibe and very little reported crime. Most of the homes in our neighborhood sit on large {half acre+} parcels and just about everyone has a trailer {utility, travel, fiver, boat etc.} and or a motorhome,
and or an ATV/UTV.

My neighbor from across the street parks his 20' TT on my neighbor to the south's property as there is lots of room. His trailer is just about 25' from the south wall of our house and well over 100' back from the street out front. When snow damaged trees appeared to be threatening the location of the trailer I expressed my concern and he and his kids did a great job of trimming the broken limbs back saving his trailer from probable damage.

About a week later he showed up my door looking none too pleased... someone had stolen his trailer the previous night and he was hoping my security cameras might have picked up the miscreants in action. Unfortunately my Blink Security system cameras, all 6 of them, provide full coverage of my house and property except... you guessed it, the property to the south to include his trailer.

Two days before the theft I was out in the north driveway splitting some wood for the evening fire when a large gray pickup with several tires piled in the bed and a couple of red gas cans pulled several lengths down my driveway from the street. I immediately walked down and asked "Can I help you?" There was a couple in the truck and the guy got out and explained they had lost their dog, a 70# Black Lab and were going door to door hoping someone had seen it. He said he had knocked on my neighbor to the south's door with no response and I told him the elderly gent that lived there won't hear you knock and his doorbell is broken.

In hindsight methinks I may have overshared but being a dog guy I was concerned for the lost doggie offering to take my Rzr SXS and go searching for him in the morning. I got her name and phone number and wished them luck. The trailer was in plain site from anyone coming to the neighbors door and was wrapped in nice new full cover.

Upon discovering this trailer missing my neighbor went door to door and the local police were soon on scene taking their report. I mentioned the truck I'd seen and they perked up. I got them the phone number and provided the best description I could. The next morning my neighbor placed a post on Facebook about his stolen trailer and after a lot of activity he got a call from a lady in Glendale who had seen the truck and trailer on her street {where parking trailers are prohibited} and she called my neighbor. He had her send pics and sure enough it was his trailer and and the same gray pickup I had seen. The Glendale police were notified and quickly on scene.

He will be getting it back eventually, no word yet as to the person or persons who took it and yes boys and girls he will be going out to buy a hitch lock and probably some additional security devices. Evidently the thieves just backed up, hooked up and rolled out probably in a matter of mere minutes.

I used to leave our Class C sitting unlocked in our driveway.... but not anymore. We close our gates every night but have learned my lesson and will step up my admittedly lax security posture.

Lock em up folks.

:C
54 REPLIES 54

DrewE
Explorer
Explorer
One simple and inexpensive way to make a trailer significantly less appealing to thieves is to park it such that the tongue is near and directed towards a wall of your house or a sturdy fence or some such. It's a lot harder to steal a trailer when you can't easily hook it up to a tow vehicle.

Of course, that does mean you need to figure out some way to jockey it into that position without injuring yourself in the process.

p220sigman
Explorer
Explorer
Glad to hear it was located quickly. Bottom line is that the idea behind any security measures is the encourage the thief to skip your stuff (car, rv, boat, house, etc.) and go to someone else's because it is less trouble. The more trouble you make it, the more likely the thief is to just move on.

toedtoes
Explorer II
Explorer II
I watch the local video recordings of thefts posted online.

Like car thefts, there are different levels:

joy riding - these are the opportunists. They are just looking to get what is inside the RV and easy to carry away. If they see there is no security like a hitch lock, they may decide to just take the trailer, but they weren't planning on it. Basic locks, etc will deter them.

auto theft - these are the ones that you want to be able to stop. They see an unattended trailer with no security and easily accessible. Just pull up, attach the chains, and get out of there. They can stop and hitch correctly once they get out of visual sight. They will sell the rv to the homeless or addicts for a few bucks after taking everything out of it. It's a quickie job for some quickie money done by people who survive by theft. They have tools to break through the basic security (bolt cutters, crowbars, etc). They have scanned the area and know when to hit. They fake stories for the neighbors if questioned. And they will leave and come back later to finish the job. They don't care if they destroy your rig in the act. This is where the multiple lines of defense is important. Each defense must be enough to slow them down significantly from getting the rv moved (a hitch lock won't slow them down because they'll just hook up using chains). No one thing will stop them. You need to make getting the rv a major hassle.

chop shop - these are the bigtime thieves. They will bust through all your security to get your rig. They want YOUR rig for a reason. You're not going to prevent these guys because they have the tools, resources, and incentive to succeed. They will break through the highest levels of security to get your rig.

Probably about 75-80% of crimes with rvs fall into the joy riding category. Maybe 9-20% fall into the auto theft category. Only 1-5% will fall into the chop shop category.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

BadgerMcAdams
Explorer
Explorer
roam1 wrote:
Dutch_12078 wrote:
Thermoguy wrote:
Interesting point about the chain through the wheels. I might do that on one of my trailers. I have a hitch lock on the 5th wheel. Mostly to stop the opportunist. I think my house is fairly secure and with dogs and cameras, not much chance for someone to get in here, unless they know we are gone.

I have a place that I take my trailer for service. They make me remove all personal items, even the propane tanks. They have seen people take all kinds of things from their lot. Since the storage keys are mostly the same, it doesn't take much for someone to get in. Propane is used in making meth so those guys look for places to grab propane tanks.


Just to be clear, it isn't the propane the meth cooks are after, it's the cylinders. They use the cylinders to transport anhydrous ammonia used in meth production. If you spot a cylinder at a refillers or in an exchange rack with green corrosion around the brass valve, stay away from it.


I use a chain lock called a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain with Disc Lock from axle it wheel, aint goin’ nowhere!


Before you get too comfortable...go look at this guys YouTube channel

LockPickingLawyer-Krypto search

While there are very, very few people that have this guys lock picking skills, he has picked the high security locks that we used in the military on munitions bunkers, without breaking a sweat. Yeah, this guy made me question having locks at all. But as I said, there are very few people who can pop a lock as quickly as this guy can.

Just saying, maybe multiple lines of defense (hitch/pin lock and chains on wheels, etc) may make a thief move on down the road.

Just my two cents...

roam1
Explorer
Explorer
Dutch_12078 wrote:
Thermoguy wrote:
Interesting point about the chain through the wheels. I might do that on one of my trailers. I have a hitch lock on the 5th wheel. Mostly to stop the opportunist. I think my house is fairly secure and with dogs and cameras, not much chance for someone to get in here, unless they know we are gone.

I have a place that I take my trailer for service. They make me remove all personal items, even the propane tanks. They have seen people take all kinds of things from their lot. Since the storage keys are mostly the same, it doesn't take much for someone to get in. Propane is used in making meth so those guys look for places to grab propane tanks.


Just to be clear, it isn't the propane the meth cooks are after, it's the cylinders. They use the cylinders to transport anhydrous ammonia used in meth production. If you spot a cylinder at a refillers or in an exchange rack with green corrosion around the brass valve, stay away from it.


I use a chain lock called a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit Chain with Disc Lock from axle it wheel, aint goin’ nowhere!

Dutch_12078
Explorer
Explorer
Thermoguy wrote:
Interesting point about the chain through the wheels. I might do that on one of my trailers. I have a hitch lock on the 5th wheel. Mostly to stop the opportunist. I think my house is fairly secure and with dogs and cameras, not much chance for someone to get in here, unless they know we are gone.

I have a place that I take my trailer for service. They make me remove all personal items, even the propane tanks. They have seen people take all kinds of things from their lot. Since the storage keys are mostly the same, it doesn't take much for someone to get in. Propane is used in making meth so those guys look for places to grab propane tanks.


Just to be clear, it isn't the propane the meth cooks are after, it's the cylinders. They use the cylinders to transport anhydrous ammonia used in meth production. If you spot a cylinder at a refillers or in an exchange rack with green corrosion around the brass valve, stay away from it.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
Bigfoot Automatic Leveling System
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox baseplate

Thermoguy
Explorer II
Explorer II
Interesting point about the chain through the wheels. I might do that on one of my trailers. I have a hitch lock on the 5th wheel. Mostly to stop the opportunist. I think my house is fairly secure and with dogs and cameras, not much chance for someone to get in here, unless they know we are gone.

I have a place that I take my trailer for service. They make me remove all personal items, even the propane tanks. They have seen people take all kinds of things from their lot. Since the storage keys are mostly the same, it doesn't take much for someone to get in. Propane is used in making meth so those guys look for places to grab propane tanks.

Dutch_12078
Explorer
Explorer
Don't count on a hitch lock for theft protection. Back in the day I repossessed a number of TT's and 5'vers with hitch locks in place. All it took to snag most of the TT's was to back up to them and hook up the safety chains before driving off. For 5'vers, we backed the extended wheel lift stinger up to the landing legs, wrapped around them, lift and go. The tougher ones were the trailers that had chains through wheels and wrapped around the frame or axles. Those required sticking wheel dollys under the tires. And before anyone asks, we were not allowed to damage any personal property such as cutting locks or chains. The bank or finance company was responsible for getting them removed. My suggestion for both TT's and 5'vers is a good quality chain and lock through the wheels and around the frame or axle. The typical crook won't be equipped to handle that. A hitch lock will stop the opportunists, but not the more determined crooks.
Dutch
2001 GBM Landau 34' Class A
F53 chassis, Triton V10, TST TPMS
Bigfoot Automatic Leveling System
2011 Toyota RAV4 4WD/Remco pump
ReadyBrute Elite tow bar/Blue Ox baseplate

Lwiddis
Explorer
Explorer
Caveman, padlocking chains helps too.
Winnebago 2101DS TT & 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500 LTZ Z71, WindyNation 300 watt solar-Lossigy 200 AH Lithium battery. Prefer boondocking, USFS, COE, BLM, NPS, TVA, state camps. Bicyclist. 14 yr. Army -11B40 then 11A - (MOS 1542 & 1560) IOBC & IOAC grad

CavemanCharlie
Explorer II
Explorer II
I think I will go look for a hitch lock right now. Not to much chance of mine disappearing out of my shed in my yard. But, I suppose if I take to the campground and leave it for a couple of days someone could notice I'm not there and tow it away. A hitch lock could slow them down some I suppose.

Expyinflight
Explorer
Explorer
We built our home in Payson in 2006. It is no longer the quiet, sleepy little town folks once imagined it to be. Too much infiltration from the Phoenix/Valley area now. Drugs and theft have been a big problem in Payson for many years, as any member of the PD will tell you.
2017 Winnebago Spirit 25b

Sandia_Man
Explorer
Explorer
First, being from the valley we always loved Payson as we drove through on our way to the Mogollon Rim and the glorious White Mountains of AZ. Last time we drove through it has grown so much, so many from PHX and Tucson have purchased getaway property that can sit unattended for months.

Having property out in the country (as we do) you actually need to be more active with deterrents, thieves are aware that it is easy pickings, all they have to do is drive around, pretty obvious to these lowlifes which properties appear unattended, glad you were watching out for your neighbors.

Never had anything burgled at our primary residences, we reside on an acre lot and I do watch for unusual activity, don't have a lot of traffic making it easy to notice vehicles that don't belong. Different story at our ranch, once past the gate thieves can get to our belongings unseen from road.

toedtoes
Explorer II
Explorer II
kellem wrote:
Bizarre story, thanks for sharing.
Not sure how thieves have a chance today with most homeowners and businesses sporting security cameras.

I would suggest to your neighbor to also join the masses and install cameras.


Security cameras don't prevent crime - they just hopefully provide proof to prosecute the criminals after the crime.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)

kellem
Explorer
Explorer
Bizarre story, thanks for sharing.
Not sure how thieves have a chance today with most homeowners and businesses sporting security cameras.

I would suggest to your neighbor to also join the masses and install cameras.

toedtoes
Explorer II
Explorer II
Yes, there is a market. Most stolen goods sell for a minimal amount. A $10K trailer can sell to a homeless person, meth addict, etc, for $100 and it's a profit for the thief.

With my motorhome, they used it as a base to sell the contents.
1975 American Clipper RV with Dodge 360 (photo in profile)
1998 American Clipper Fold n Roll Folding Trailer
Both born in Morgan Hill, CA to Irv Perch (Daddy of the Aristocrat trailers)