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Old 08-08-2011, 10:58 PM   #1
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1964 26' Overlander
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre
Anna , Illinois
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Angry Complacency In Today’s Economy Spells Vanishing Tanks and/or Shore Power Cords!

My family has lived on this property for more than 100 years, and I will admit to being somewhat complacent about security. In the century that my family has lived here, I can count on one hand the number of times that we have had to contend with thieves.
  • 1922 – highway robbers (local newspaper’s description of the break-in) broke into the family farmhouse holding my then 8-year-old mother and my grandmother at knife point demanding all of the money in the house. When they could only find less than $10, they scalped my grandmother and escaped.
  • 1978 – thieves broke the lock on the farm’s diesel fuel tank and stole 30 gallons of diesel fuel . . . the sheriff caught these thieves as their Chevrolet 454 didn’t appreciate being fed diesel fuel.
  • 1984 – thieves broke into the machine shed and got away with a complete Reese hitch head and weight distribution bars along with a small utility trailer.
  • 2010 – thieves kicked in three steel entry doors to gain access to our home and proceeded to steal a generator, a silver plate service for 12 that my great-grandfather gave to my great aunt as a wedding gift in 1919, and a box I Love Lucy Collector Plates (2 each of the complete series).
  • 2011 – thieves broke into our craft workshop in the barn where they helped themselves to a dozen pieces of Victorian furniture (included several pieces of East Lake).
We have taken a number of steps to increase security, yet we had two more thefts over the past two weekends. Both of our coaches were parked in our driveway in full view of our kitchen and dining room windows in an area well-lighted by a mercury vapor lamp – when thieves decided to break into the one-stop service compartment on the Airstream (drilled out the compartment lock cylinder) in what I have since learned was likely an attempt to steal the shore power cord (it seems that thieves in this area are stealing shore power cables from RVs and salvaging the copper to sell to recyclers (my Overlander was converted to a Marinco setup three years ago and the power cord was locked in the trunk of the tow vehicle) - - this past weekend the thieves decided to steal the Worthington Aluminum LP tanks on our Minuet. Why they took the Minuet’s tanks and not the Airstream’s, I am not certain as it wasn’t obvious that the Minuet’s tanks were aluminum (they were painted to match the hitch). The sheriff speculates that a meth-head likely took the tanks for the fuel for a meth cooking operation in remote regions of the county.

I have asked the service and parts department at my favorite Airstream dealer about security measures that I might take that would discourage the theft of the 40-pound Worthington tanks on my Airstream. I was hoping for something a little less obvious than a cable lock. Any ideas of a less obvious means of securing the LP tanks?

The one thing that the sheriff mentioned while we were discussing my chances of recovering the tanks was establishing a means of positive identification of the tanks. His suggestion was to etch/scratch your name or a unique identification code into each tank and to back this up with a photo. Since my tanks had been recertified just three years earlier, I was hoping that there might be a record of the recertification serial number/code stamped into the tank collar . . . . as it turned out this information was not included in my invoice for the recertification/OPD install nor was it on my Airstream dealer’s copy of the repair invoice.

I am hoping that the school of “hard-knocks” is over for a while!



Kevin D. Allen
WBCCI (Lifetime Member)/VAC/Free Wheelers #6359
AIR #827
1964 Overlander International/1999 GMC K2500 Suburban (7400 VORTEC/4.11 Differentials)
1978 Argosy Minuet 6.0 Metre/1975 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible (8.2 Liter V8/2.70 Final Drive)
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Old 08-09-2011, 03:58 AM   #2
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1972 27' Overlander
Venice , Florida
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Sorry Kevin. I have been the target of thieves a couple of times myself. It makes me so mad I want to shoot somebody. It doesn't matter what you do to burgler proof your stuff, they will still find a way to take something.


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Old 08-09-2011, 05:29 AM   #3

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:05 AM   #4
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1966 26' Overlander
1958 18' "Footer"
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Chattanooga , Tennessee
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You need a couple of dogs & I am serious! Barking dogs are a great deterrent. Hope things get better.
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Old 08-09-2011, 06:28 AM   #5
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holly springs , Georgia
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Really sorry; I guess the plague of criminal meth. heads is everywhere, I have had 4 thefts this year,I did get lucky and caught 2. I have a friend who has a vacant commercial building that was basically destroyed, removed compressor,all plbg. and ripped out the walls to get the wiring! This is on a main road. To them copper and even aluminum is the same as cash. I bought a few trail cameras, hunters use them to locate game, they snap a photo when it detects movement.

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Old 08-09-2011, 09:51 AM   #6
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Rural , Delaware
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Sorry this happened, Kevin. Glad you're taking steps to prevent further thefts. I know, from experience, it takes the shine out of camping for a while. After over 16 years living on my property, our house was burglarized this year while we were away on a cross country trip. We live in a remote area and, while they didn't get much from inside the house, they took considerable property from outside, mostly in the form of copper and aluminum. They even cut the electric cords off most of my power tools. Desperate times, I guess.

We've also taken some preventative steps, like alarms, motion detector lights, etc. We really didn't let it slow us down much, and are getting ready to go on a 3 week Anchorage to Los Angeles adventure. We'll be pulling a friend's Airstream, so ours will be at home. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a bit nervous about leaving for this long, but this one of those opportunities of a lifetime.
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Old 08-09-2011, 10:37 AM   #7
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Kevin, in 1981, after getting tired of having people help themselves to the 30 or so gallons of gas in my LTD, I connected an electric fence module to the car. The gas thieves didn't like getting zapped by a few thousand volts, and I never had any more problems.
I also had a neighbor steal diesel fuel out of my truck in 2007. His car didn't like a cetane-flavored diet any more than the ones that stole your diesel fuel.
Meddle not in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy, and taste good with ketchup.
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Old 08-09-2011, 11:33 AM   #8

2003 25' Classic
Zanadude Nebula , WNY
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"we don't get even...we get ahead"......
AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:36 PM   #9
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1973 31' Excella 500
Marysville , Washington
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Securing the tanks

I mounted a piece of 2" angle under each tank in such a way that one flange is above the lip at the bottom of the tank (of an aluminum tank) and the other flange is bolted to the crossmember that runs under the tank. To remove the tanks I have to lay on the ground and remove the nuts and bolts.

I also lock the tanks with chain. It does shows a would-be thief that I've taken some security steps and hopefully they'll move to a soft target. It also forces them to come back with bolt cutters. Chain is noisey against the tanks so I run the chain around so that removal is noisy.

Pulling hard on the top of the tank(s) just right would probably bend the angle and free the tank. If the thief doesn't know how its being held he may not figure that out. Also, having defeated the noisy chain they may not want to spend much more time trying to figure out why the tanks are "stuck".

I remove the tanks in the off season.
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Old 08-09-2011, 02:49 PM   #10
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Sorry to hear about this. It really sucks when folks violate in this way.

We were camping this weekend in a busy ocean port campground and someone managed to siphon off 40 gallons of diesel fuel out of a guys pickup. It was over by the docks. That was over 200 dollars of fuel at the coast prices. It might have went right into a fishing vessel.

Unfortunatley we have to be so vigil these days. I like the dog idea too. Our dog is a goof but she is big with a scary bark. I think it deters a bit.

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Old 08-09-2011, 02:56 PM   #11
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This all kinda makes one more cynical, doesn't it?

Sprinkle in a little anarchy as in London, add a tincture of a bummed economy, and ice the cake with political incompetence in D.C., and you have a perfect recipe!!! I grew up trying to make the best of every situation, and to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, but "times, they are a changin' ".

Even after many years in the military, I have not armed myself. I am afraid that if I shoot a thief, the attorneys will blame me for the problem and put me away. And please don't capriciously discredit my last statement....it could happen!!

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Old 08-09-2011, 03:27 PM   #12
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I agree, but isn't it strange that we would fear the repurcussions from an attorney, but not the criminal himself. I would have a hard time deciding which one to shoot at first.

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Old 08-12-2011, 09:57 AM   #13
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I suppose to shoot em we would have to catch them in the act, and chaces are they would not want to stand around once spotted...but being in TX, it is always an option. Our local Sheriff told us to get a gun after a rash of thefts from our small orchard. Mind you I would not be shooting someone for stealing pecans from my non commercial trees, but suppose if it was my livelihood I might rethink that.

It is a sad state of affairs. A note from an ancestors letter to a friend: "It is so dangerous these days we try to never leave the house unattended. We must always lock are doors." That was the great state of New Hampshire North Conway about 1863
"There’s not much in life we can’t over-analyze”
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Old 08-12-2011, 10:14 AM   #14

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Originally Posted by Airslide View Post
I like the dog idea too. Our dog is a goof but she is big with a scary bark. I think it deters a bit.
DW.... always quick with the appropriate comeback.

Knock on the door, big goofy harmless dog barking wildly.

"who is it"

"we would like to talk to you about the here-after"

"If I open this door you'll BE in the here-after"

dead silence.....

AF #1

"Sticks & stones can break your bones...and hail will dent your Airstream"

So when is this..."old enough to know better" supposed to kick in?
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