theft

Share your views on the policies, philosophies, and spirit of Burning Man.

do you know anyone who had anything stolen, or witnessed an attempted theft at the burning man festival in 2003?

yes
47
60%
no
31
40%
 
Total votes : 78

theft

Postby III » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:30 pm

so, i've heard from a number of people that theft was both more prevalent, and more brazen this year. does this match your perceptions? is there any useful (and useable) metric to determine how bad a problem it is from year to year?
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Postby Zane5100 » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:43 pm

I saw a someone try to help themselves to my supplies when I was not open for business. A rather sharp comment from me got his attention and he sulked off into the night--but it was clear that he was not wanting to leave, and was debating ignoring me altogether.

Very irritating.
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Yup.

Postby Rob the Wop » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:53 pm

Had to keep a raver/hippie couple off two art cars. They weren't stupid/brave enough to try and take them with us watching. Also had a campmate have her bike stolen while taking a piss. Nancy (campmate) warned me on Wednesday night that she interrupted a couple guys trying to steal some artwork, but they were gone by the time I showed up in the tent with my "begonebitch" stick. Nothing stolen that time, but 3 times in one night is too much IMHO.
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Postby dirtytuba » Thu Sep 04, 2003 2:54 pm

this does match my perceptions...

first couple of years I experienced some theft (a couple of bikes, but no big whoop cuz they were sh*t anyway). but this year on the Contessa I noticed someone wearing an Extra Action Marching Band Uniform but didn't recognize him. So I asked. where did you get that jacket from? to which he replied, "I found it on that seat over there" pointing to one of the benches inside the contessa. I asked him nicely to return it. He then became agitated and started screaming that he was holding it for Amy (although there is no band member named Amy). I again asked that he put the jacket back where he found it because there is no one named Amy in the band. He responded with threats of violence. I then abandoned my on ship.

I mention this interaction (as aposed to listing all the things that were theaved from our camp) because not only was this blatten thevery but it was also what I believe is the new direction of burning man....

"gift economy" = "I take what I want, and fuck you"
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Postby precipitate » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:04 pm

It's amazing how few people got the irony of my "Where's my fucking gift?" shirt.
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5 bikes out of 40 people... that's not good.

Postby KurtRuckus » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:04 pm

We had five bikes go missing out of our camp of 40 people (not all had bikes). Mine disappeared while I was sitting not 20 feet away in my camp chatting with friends and it didn't even have a pedal. I'm still searching. Silver Marin mtn bike, one pedal, anyone? Three bikes in our camp were recovered so likely just borrowed (two were "borrowed" back, one was an honest mix up), but I suspect someone with a big moving truck hauled off a lot of stuff this year. The people that lost their art golf cart, the guy that had his generator and kite art project stolen, these aren't the sort of thing you just pick up and walk off with in a addled state of mind. The loss of my bike was one of the huge downers of my burn on top of several others.<p>
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it was early in the week

Postby stuart » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:38 pm

I was relaxing at blue house (when the music was soft) and I had on this wacky full length white fake fur coat I had dubbed 'the yetti'. The nice man behind the bar, Owen I believe, gave me a drink so I asked if he wanted to 'rock the yetti'. A few drinks later I was letting many different people experience my coat. It went missing. The folks at blue house were so very nice. They said they had seen the guy leave with it, knew who he was, would get it back for me. I checked back there several times. Blue house folks had seen the guy in the coat and asked for it back. He claimed to know where I was camped and that he would only give it to me. Finally, after the burn, my campmates busted the guy wearing it at blue house. He claimed he had come by our camp many times to drop it off but that no one was there. We were on the esplanade. Someone was almost always there. He was reluctant but gave it to my pals. I was very happy to get it back, but it was trashed. I think I would have done the guy violence. Grrr...[/i]
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They tried to steal my palm tree!!

Postby swordinhalf » Thu Sep 04, 2003 3:44 pm

Well, one guy did, I was part of Camp Klepto and we built these 15 foot, illuminated palm trees at the edge of our camp. The trees did look pretty cool (if I say so myself) and a lot of time had been spent in perfecting them. We had got there on the Sunday and the vibe had been good up until around Thursday night. This was when an 'art car' with three drunken guys in it pulled up by our tree, one of the guys then jumped out of the cart and proceeded to try and steel the tree, lifting it up. Luckily the tree was connected to a wire for the lights which prevented him from pulling it out all the way, and most people in the vicinity either shouted at him or tried to stop him physically.

I was the designer of the trees and I wasn't actually there to see the incident. When I found out my feelings were mixed, on the one hand this asshole guy had tried to steal my creation, but on the other he must of thought the tree was worth stealing (I've never had anybody appreciate one of my designs so much that they want to steal it before).

This was the only (attempted) Theft I encountered. I did sense a big attitude/mood/vibe shift from about Thursday onwards, but this could be attributed to our camps lack of sleep and general mental fragility as much as anything else.
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Postby zeno » Thu Sep 04, 2003 10:14 pm

dirtytuba wrote:
"gift economy" = "I take what I want, and fuck you"


Gift giving without expectation of anything in return was a wonderful experience for my wife and I. As many of you have probably experienced, we felt like we got more than we gave, both materially and otherwise. I was stunned by the overwhelming appreciation people had for our small gifts and nice words. The few assholes we met were insignificant, and our memories of them decline daily.

But an economy, it is not.

Protect yourself from idiots, my friends.
Student of all, Disciple of none
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attempted art car theft / joyriding

Postby Kathy O'Sunnyvale » Thu Sep 04, 2003 10:32 pm

I know several people who lost bikes or cameras.

Our neighbors had a nice art car: twice they caught people trying to take it for a joyride. In both cases our neighbors had the key with them, and so they'd watch the louts fumble with buttons and knobs for a while before asking them "what are you doing?"

The loutish answers were unrepentent even when the neighbors told them that it was their art car they were trying to steal. "We just burned the Man" was one excuse, and I can't remember what the other excuse was.
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Postby PJ » Fri Sep 05, 2003 5:31 am

Art project idea:

Something interesting, monolithic, and just the right size to pick up and steal. Installed just off the Esplanade, in a dark place. Connected to a retracting cable spool that's anchored underground. IR video of the would-be thieves continually looping on a big monitor in the owner's camp on the Esplanade.
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Postby tbone » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:46 am

Camp of 25 people...
We had a guy who found 3 guys going through his stuff.
Our neighbor had the same thing happen.

We had lots of bikes, and none were taken, although many of them are unique.

I overheard some guys talking about planting a few painful things that are easily stolen next year. Bike seats covered in fun fur with thumbtacks underer the fur. Not big enough to hurt you, but it might cause a tiny bit if pain.
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Reprise of the old trick

Postby Peace_Tolero » Fri Sep 05, 2003 8:59 am

Art project idea:

Something interesting, monolithic, and just the right size to pick up and steal. Installed just off the Esplanade, in a dark place. Connected to a retracting cable spool that's anchored underground. IR video of the would-be thieves continually looping on a big monitor in the owner's camp on the Esplanade.


The Old Wallet on a String Trick!

or the quarter nailed to the bar counter-top.

What's old is new again. Good show.

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Thief's Suck!

Postby KnowMatterWhat » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:13 am

Some selfish phuck stole my daughter's bike from the Thunderdome Saturday night. It's my daughter's bad for not using the lock I implored her to use, but at least the jerk who stole it could have left the bike at Center Camp or Playa Info when they were finished with it. Ecco spent a long time decorating her bike and I sunk a few bucks into it myself making it Playa worthy ... There were also reports of a few bikes disappearing from our Lamplighter camp ~ Sheesh! I guess some other people perceived that they needed our primary transportation more than we did ...

Oh well, in spite of the selfishness of some, I had an enjoyable 2003 ~ Know Matter What
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BRC=NYC?

Postby buckethead alien » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:32 am

I have been the victim of significant theft twice in my 40 years: the first time was on 9th Street and First Avenue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan when someone broke into my truck and took my Italian racing bike. This was in the day when the junkies and crackheads still ruled the neighborhood. The other time was on the Sunday after the burn when somebody nailed my very expensive parafoil kite and a generator. The funny thing is, my stuff would probably be safer, statistically, in New York City. At least there I would have had the sense to lock it up. Our total loss in dollar terms exceeds $1,000; in emotional terms . . . who knows.
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Postby nymphgonebad » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:42 am

i was on line for the bathroom and chatting up some dude when this woman starts to take off with his bike. he has to run after her - get this:
she's sorry but she "borrowed" someone's bike at camp and now she can't remember which one it is.

grrrrr
:evil:


this kind of shit drives me crazy, esp. bc the person who needs to hear this, ie;bike theif, never will. she just doesn't get it. nor never will.

hrh - the princess
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bikes

Postby diesel » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:44 am

"Dude, these are TOTALLY someone's bikes.."
"ahh fuckit..bikes..we need bikes.. grumble"
"No dude, we should leave 'em."
<sounds of bikes clanging against bumper of vehicle>
"shit"

- conversation overheard by my partner before I woke up. The bikes & vehicle were five feet from where we were sleeping, and were locked.

This is on the Saturday night *before* (August 23)
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Postby PJ » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:53 am

I'm surprised to hear that most stolen bikes are taken from big dance venues and the like. There are far more unlocked bikes near the toilets.

I always lock my bike to something (guy wire, post) when I visit a dance place or time-consuming art installation. But there's nothing to lock it to while taking a leak. I've not even locked the wheels together when visiting a JOTS; maybe I should start doing at least that. It's not a fancy bike but my B.Man experience would be screwed without it.
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Postby BoobFootDisciple » Fri Sep 05, 2003 9:59 am

My wife's bike was stolen from our camp while we were sleeping on Tuesday night. She was totally bummed, but we had some pedal cars and she was still able to get around.

What was cool was on Sunday, we made a procession to the nearby community burn platform to burn the wooden components of our installation. On the way back some of our neighbors (Glom bar) asked us if any of us needed a bike. Seems somebody with a bike rack had left early and these people didn't have any way to get this one bike home. It is the perfect size for Ann, and she gratefully accepted it. Sure hope their story was true and that we didn't receive stolen property......

In general, I would have to say that I felt less of the spirit that I first experienced at BM in 1997. We have traveled a lot and have often remarked about what we call the 10% asshole factor. What I mean is that no matter where you go in the world, 10% of the folks you run into are going to be assholes. I used to think that BM was exempt from this rule, but I am afraid that this is no longer true.
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Postby nymphgonebad » Fri Sep 05, 2003 10:22 am

i think next year i'm bringing a polaroid and take pictures of people who steal and putting them up somewhere on the playa. sort of like what they do to shoplifters. if we can't get thru to them with literature (which they don't read) and pleas (which they don't heed) then why not embarrass them?

hrh - the princess
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Postby chloe_dancer » Fri Sep 05, 2003 10:23 am

some people we camped w/ had a huge quantity of food stolen. this was terrible! not to mention they had a child there to feed and hadn't brought extra supplies or money. it was sad and i hope whoever stole it got sick. karma will come around and bite them in the ass someday.....watch out!
i feel there is an angel in me whom i am constantly shocking
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What a way to lose a bike!

Postby Catblack » Fri Sep 05, 2003 10:29 am

I had a very good friend (and rather a celebrity from years back, though he didn't put his cage up this year) who camped at 4:30 and Vision with his camper. Around sunset on friday as he was returning to camp (on his bike), a fellow asked him directions. My friend went inside and got the map out and told the fellow where the camp he was looking for was located.

Then, when my friend went back inside, the fellow hopped on my friend's bike and rode off with it.

What a nasty, sneaky way to steal someone's bike!
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The Wages of Stupidity

Postby Isotopia » Fri Sep 05, 2003 12:05 pm

I saw two guys a woman beat the dog shit out of a guy who they'd caught going through their camp. The woman's rebar to the knee technique was especially interesting.

Ordinarily I'd be inclined to intervene but left them a six pack instead.
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Re: The Wages of Stupidity

Postby PJ » Fri Sep 05, 2003 12:09 pm

Isotopia wrote:I saw two guys a woman beat the dog shit out of a guy who they'd caught going through their camp. The woman's rebar to the knee technique was especially interesting.

Ordinarily I'd be inclined to intervene but left them a six pack instead.


Wish I'd been there. I'd have given them two six packs.

Primitive justice is the most elegant solution.
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Postby nymphgonebad » Fri Sep 05, 2003 12:52 pm

in addition to my polaraoid ( god help us all, now i'm on a crusade ) i think i'll make a t-shirt that reads, "theft is not ok - when you steal from one, you rob us all". on the back it will read: give me back my fucking bike, asshole!


this could make an interesting art project - anyone else interested in making this happen on a large scale?

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Postby ubu » Fri Sep 05, 2003 1:07 pm

a simple lock on the spokes of a bike will deter someone from mistakenly walking away with it.

and no, beating the shit out of someone is not the answer. if one of the cops sees you doing that, you will be arrested for assault. Preventing violence and keeping the peace is one of the few things a cop is good for.

By all means deter theft, but do not assault anyone. You won't get a six pack of beer, you'll get a few days in the gerlach jail.
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Postby PJ » Fri Sep 05, 2003 2:42 pm

ubu wrote:a simple lock on the spokes of a bike will deter someone from mistakenly walking away with it.


Mistakenly, sure. But it won't do much about roving gangs with moving truck depositories.


ubu wrote:beating the shit out of someone is not the answer.


It's not THE answer, but it's a goddamned satisfying response. And a great prevention measure for recidivism.


ubu wrote:if one of the cops sees you doing that, you will be arrested for assault. Preventing violence and keeping the peace is one of the few things a cop is good for.


Would that be the same cop that people are complaining is never around during a theft but is always busting them for smoking dope? No worries.


ubu wrote:By all means deter theft, but do not assault anyone. You won't get a six pack of beer, you'll get a few days in the gerlach jail.


Maybe. I'll happily take my chances if it's my bike being stolen and I'm carrying a stick.
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Postby ubu » Fri Sep 05, 2003 3:29 pm

there you go pj! showing your true colors.

breaking the law is a risk you are willing to take when it suits you, and violent crime suits you as well? lovely.

bring back the guns!
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this lame topic again

Postby a2^8 » Fri Sep 05, 2003 3:34 pm

i don't bring anything to the playa, other than my life, that I am not willing to let go of (stolen/borrowed/orlost).
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Postby TestesInSac » Fri Sep 05, 2003 3:56 pm

ubu wrote:there you go pj! showing your true colors.

breaking the law is a risk you are willing to take when it suits you, and violent crime suits you as well? lovely.

bring back the guns!


PJ, myself and a few of the other cranky ones here are just saying that if you're going to break the law, accept the consequences (and/or workd to change the law). PJ's post is completely consistent with that thought.
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