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Boundary Waters Quetico Forum :: Listening Point - General Discussion :: Basswood Thieves?
 
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MikeinMpls
07/01/2020 12:19PM
 
Interesting. The plastic tub is what makes me suspicious. Though I concur with Canoearoo, that there are several possibilities, the whole thing would weird me out. Personally, I would never, ever, ever venture into, or land at, another person's campsite without their permission and presence. I assumed that most people would know that. Bad assumption on my part.


Mike
 
missmolly
07/01/2020 01:24PM
 
We've become such a throwaway society that it makes me wonder why anyone would bother stealing nowadays, except for pathetically desperate heroin addicts. If you tried to sell something used recently, you've discovered that it's no longer 1965 or 1985 when people were happy to save a few bucks and buy used.
 
prettypaddle
07/01/2020 02:56PM
 
I'll jump on the could-be-legit-but-does-sound-suspicious bandwagon. Did you call the ranger station when you got back? Wouldn't hurt to let them know your story.


The only time I ever stopped at an occupied site when the owners weren't there was with my son, 3 at the time, who really had to go #2 but refused to go in the woods. The owners of the site paddled up as we were coming back to shore and I explained what we were doing there and apologized profusely. Cause if you're there for a good reason, that's just what you do, right?
 
LindenTree
07/01/2020 03:51PM
 
There is just too many variables for me. I was a Ranger out of Isabella for 3 years and saw a lot of things in my 30 year career as a Firefighter/Ranger.


Some people are not woods wise, could be a hundred reasons why they were at your campsite.
 
mjmkjun
07/01/2020 04:44PM
 
wintxn, I think your instincts are spot-on. Kind board members tend to allow lots of room for possibilities/probabilities. I suppose I'm not so open to 'what-ifs".
I would NEVER approach a campsite that is set-up with no canoes visible. Unless, of course, there was a body laying on the ground or someone flagging me over. Might be they were assessing the site's equipment values--so needed to get up closer. Could be innocent enough but they sure lacked manners and sure didn't come up with any justification. Who were they going to request direction/site info with when no soul in sight excepting when you guys approached from behind? meh
 
3Ball
07/04/2020 10:02AM
 
missmolly: "I have my own sad story to tell. My partner and I were "shopping" for Packers gear and we saw a yellow and green tent after the portage to Pipestone Falls.



"Perfect!" I said.



Then we saw two guys in a fishing boat motoring toward us.



"Curses! Foiled again," I said.



Go, Pack!



"



See, I was pretty much in the "who knows, don't worry camp." Now, though, I am in the shoot first camp.

 
SummerSkin
07/02/2020 08:35AM
 
If they were truly lost or struggling with their map / finding a site, perhaps they were thinking they'd stop at the next occupied campsite and ask someone. I have had lost paddlers pull up to my camp to ask questions and get their bearings.


It seems unlikely to me that anyone would do the planning and prepping to enter the BWCA with the purposes of stealing from campsites, but I'm sure stranger crimes have happened. Nothing wrong with being cautious and wary!
 
wintxn
07/02/2020 09:22AM
 
missmolly, thank you for giving me the real reason they stopped!! I plan to purchase a purple tent today. ;)
 
shock
07/01/2020 05:46PM
 
LindenTree:



Some people are not woods wise, could be a hundred reasons why they were at your campsite."
, who knows , they did have their gear with to set up a camp , no gear in their canoe would make me more suspicious.
 
missmolly
07/02/2020 09:08AM
 
I have my own sad story to tell. My partner and I were "shopping" for Packers gear and we saw a yellow and green tent after the portage to Pipestone Falls.


"Perfect!" I said.


Then we saw two guys in a fishing boat motoring toward us.


"Curses! Foiled again," I said.


Go, Pack!



 
wintxn
07/02/2020 08:55AM
 
mjmkjun, this was my 3rd BWCA overnight outing this season and possibly my 50th overnight trip since I have been doing this. I have never witnessed this type of
behavior, the fact that the canoeists saw no other boats nearby because my boat was on the other side of the island made my gut instincts kick in. With the current loss of jobs and too much time on their hands people will do things they shouldn't.
Thanks to all that read and replied to my post, I felt compelled to share this incident with others that enjoy and cherish ou BWCA.
 
MikeinMpls
07/04/2020 03:26PM
 
Much thievery is opportunistic...if given the chance, some people will take other peoples stuff. I doubt these guys were destination thieves, but more likely guys who saw a possible chance and took it...but got busted.

Mike
 
missmolly
07/04/2020 03:56PM
 
3Ball: "missmolly: "I have my own sad story to tell. My partner and I were "shopping" for Packers gear and we saw a yellow and green tent after the portage to Pipestone Falls.




"Perfect!" I said.




Then we saw two guys in a fishing boat motoring toward us.




"Curses! Foiled again," I said.




Go, Pack!




"




See, I was pretty much in the "who knows, don't worry camp." Now, though, I am in the shoot first camp.
"



Don't shoot wintxn for displaying Packer pride with a yellow and green tent. Some people are just born with great taste!
 
x2jmorris
07/04/2020 03:26PM
 
I would buy that they were lost and possibly looking for someone in camp for help. Lots of people lately pull their canoes out of view so you never really know if someone is there. Also someone might have stayed back that could help. I have had many people over the years come up to my camp asking for help. Sometimes they have been paddling for hours and also would like to stretch their legs and I am cool with that too. I have also been there stuck in a canoe with no end in sight.
 
wintxn
07/01/2020 06:41AM
 
6/28/20 7:00pm
My fishing partner and I were fishing behind the first island after the portage at Pipestone Falls. Our campsite was the one that is clearly visible with a green tent and a yellow tent pitched on the east side of the lake about 1/2 mile from the portage.

As we came around the island, we noticed a canoe paddling towards our camp, thinking they might be trolling close to shore or not. The two young men in the canoe stopped at the shore of our campsite and stepped out of their canoe.

As they stepped out of the canoe, I turned my motorized boat towards our campsite and proceeded to motor towards the campsite with two strangers standing at the shore. At this time, the young man in the bow of the canoe took two steps up towards our camp, looked into our camp and stepped back down to shore.

By now my boat was within 200 yards of the camp shore and it was obvious to the strangers that we were about to return to our campsite. Still motoring towards the shore, the other young man quickly opens up a plastic tub and pulls out a map and holds it up high to display to my partner and me that they were kinda lost.

As we came within speaking distance, my partner asked the paddlers if they were looking for a campsite and directed them to the empty site closest to the portage. They returned to their canoe and went to that site, hauled up the plastic tub and stayed there for ten minutes. Their next move was to paddle up to Pipestone Falls and go fishing in the current.

We trolled around the bay and made sure that we were seen by the two strangers. We returned to our camp and made a fire at 9:30 pm. Shortly after, the two strangers paddled back to their campsite. At 7:00am the next morning, the strangers were gone.

End of the story?? or did we interrupt a petty crime? Our tents were clearly visible for 1/4 mile from the lake. Nobody wastes paddling effort to get close to an occupied site. Who stops at an occupied site with no boats on the shore? Pulling the map out was the alibi to cover up the real reason to be in our site. The strangers did not ask for any assistance or explain why stopped. You don't have to be standing on shore to look at a map.

By going fishing at Pipestone Falls displayed to me that these strangers knew exactly where they were and were not lost or in need of a map until they knew that they were cornered. The strangers didn't spend enough time in their site to set up camp for the night.

The getaway canoe was aluminum with heavy duck hunting camouflage and a 2020 expiration blue license. I think they have done this before and have stolen from others.
 
plexmidwest
07/01/2020 11:48AM
 
What did they take?
 
jdoutdoors
07/01/2020 09:35AM
 
That is unsettling. It is possible they were just looking to steal firewood. I have read on these forums debates about going to UNOCCUPIED campsites to see if there is any firewood (which some disagree with, some are fine with, that's not the point). Hopefully their intentions were only limited to wood and not to valuable gear or food. Such an experience, even not knowing their intentions for sure, would leave me with a gross feeling. I never want to worry about someone stealing my stuff in the BWCA, nor should anyone have to.
 
Canoearoo
07/01/2020 11:07AM
 
I have had people ask if they could look at my campsite for future trips. Maybe they were wondering what it looked like? Although if that was the case they should have told you or asked permission. We once asked to swim off of someone elses campsite. They were going fishing for the day and the kids really wanted to. That couple was very nice and said no problem. Or maybe they really had to use the bathroom? We once had a group set up lunch on the landing. It was very windy that day and it was the only place to get out of the wind on that lake. There are lots of possibilities. Who knows.
 
missmolly
07/02/2020 09:27AM
 
wintxn: "missmolly, thank you for giving me the real reason they stopped!! I plan to purchase a purple tent today. ;)"


Don't do it! They say purple tents are five times more likely to be struck by lightning because Heaven loves green and gold.


;-) back at ya!
 
Savage Voyageur
07/02/2020 09:44AM
 
Plastic tubs??? Who takes those? Sounds like a bunch of rookies that are on there first trip.
 
analyzer
07/02/2020 07:09PM
 
I'm kinda thinking they had to take a dump. The tub probably had stuff in it for shore lunch, and toilet paper. I would never stop at any occupied site, and would do my business elsewhere, but maybe they just needed to use the latrine. Hence the reason they only stayed at the next site 10 minutes.


I have never had an issue with thieves in 48 years, but I usually go to the end of the gunflint trail, and am a long way for kids to go mess around. I just can't see thieves going to that much work, to go across two wheeled portages to steal something.



 
thegildedgopher
07/02/2020 08:40PM
 
Most criminals are wayyy too lazy for something like that in my opinion. The latrine story adds up. There are so many more likely crimes of opportunity waiting for the right time in Ely and around outfitters.


My more fun guesses:


- they buried treasure on that island and intended to dig it up. The plastic tote is to carry it back to the canoe.


- they planted some weed back there and it’s harvest time dude



Also... Miss Molly I always got good vibes from you and now I know for certain you are a good one. Go pack! (But probably not this year!)
 
missmolly
07/03/2020 06:05AM
 
I agree with tGG about the laziness of crooks. Paddling and portaging ain't for sissies and the reason people steal is because they're too wimpy to work.


I also agree with tGG about the glorious Pack.
 
johndku
07/03/2020 07:04AM
 
I'd think/hope they weren't thieves, I agree going to the BWCA, getting a permit, paddling and portaging to steal a couple fishing rods or a tent would be a lot of work, no I'm going with the newbies theory of being lost, I'd tend to believe them.


Years ago I wasn't "lost" in the exact sense, but I did paddle up to another occupied site to get re-oriented. Nearing the site, the occupants were in camp, I asked if they'd mind if I paddled up to shore, and I never got out of the canoe while they pointed out to me where I was on the map. They were very friendly.


I'd never dream of getting out of the canoe at a campsite where I couldn't see any of the occupants, and they didn't give me the OK to come into camp.