High-Tech Game Leads to Bomb Scare

Geocaching draws AFD response

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Geocaching involves a "cache" that is planted or hidden in some inconspicuous spot that seekers equipped with GPS go in search thereof.

    As a one-eyed co-worker once said to me and a band of newsroom merry pranksters, "It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye."

    To be fair, she lost hers in a car crash, not a newsroom prank.

    Anyway, games, at times, can get out of hand, and apparently that's what happened last night in Arlington during a rousing round of geocaching.

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    Arlington emergency responders say the incident is one of 16 bomb scares caused by geocaching in two months.

    Never heard of it? Geocaching involves a "cache" that is planted or hidden in some inconspicuous spot that seekers equipped with GPS go in search thereof.

    Some sort of waterproof container -- Tupperware or an ammunition box, for example, according to a Wikipedia entry -- is typically used, along with a logbook and little cheap tchotchkes.

    During last night's game in Arlington, someone apparently spotted the person planting the transmitter, mistook it for a pipe bomb and alerted authorities.

    The bomb squad responded to the Burlington Coat Factory, investigated, deemed the situation safe, gave the "all-clear" signal and walked away muttering something about "those damned kids and their stupid games."

    OK, that last part's conjecture but probably not too far off the mark. The Arlington Fire Department officials said the false alarms caused by the game are on the rise.

    Seriously, geocachers, play, knock yourselves out, have fun, just don’t waste public safety resources. Thank you.

    Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the caches include a GPS transmitter. Participants find the coordinates and descriptions of hiding places from a geocaching site and then look for the caches with a GPS device using that information. NBCDFW regrets the error.

    Bruce Felps owns and operates East Dallas Times, an online community news outlet serving the White Rock Lake area. His favorite games do not involve public safety agencies. They probably should sometimes...