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One of the things I did when I took a car trip to the east coast a few years
ago with my birding gear was to install a heavy sheet metal safe in my van.
It was big enough for my bins, cameras and scope eyepiece.  To attach it to
the van I removed a center row seat, drilled 3/8" holes in the bottom of the
safe and used U bolts through those holes to attach it to the mounting
fixtures for the seat that I had removed.  I always kept the safe buried
under towels or a blanket.

I also have the advantage that my van has privacy glass and sunshades that
pull up to prevent peaking in even more.

At hotels all the toys went into a non-descript nylon bag to bring into the
hotel.  I also have resisted putting birding stickers on my vehicle as I
figure they are indicators that my van just might have optics on board.

Here is a link to the safe I used:

http://www.target.com/p/sentry-safe-security-safe-4-cubic-feet/-/A-13734018#
prodSlot=medium_1_18&term=safes

Mike Grant
Chesterfield, MO
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-----Original Message-----
From: Missouri Wild Bird Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf
Of Edge
Sent: Thursday, February 07, 2013 9:43 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Theft prevention thoughts

The list of lost items is lengthy and very costly.

We parked near the door, broad daylight, items covered with coats.
The car was locked.  It has no trunk (and we've heard of an incident of
trunk punched out from interior at Tower Grove).

Things we would do differently:
There were no cameras in the lot (there were at the Denny's, our other
option for lunch); choose the monitored restaurant.

We walked into the restaurant: me empty-handed and June with a small clutch
billfold-purse.  It's likely we were observed.

In the future (as in rebuilding the barn and getting a new horse to put in
it), I will do this and suggest something similar to others:

I will have a medium-size day pack.  In it will be stowed:   
Binoculars, scope, iPod and any other valuable items.  If binocs/ scope have
been used in transit, I'll place them in the pack as I leave the car at rest
stops or restaurant--perhaps quite obviously, rather than furtively.

I will have that day pack with me, strapped on, or carried by strap, or
strap around my ankle or over shoulder the whole time, every minute I am
away from car.

Just maybe, this demonstration of valuables taken out of the car will deter
thieves from impromptu inspiration that the car is a profitable target.

Bodacious birding,

Edge Wade
Columbia, MO
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------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum ASM Spring
Meeting: May 3-5 2013 in St. Joseph, MO Details and online registration at:
http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html

------------------------------------------------------------
The Audubon Society of Missouri's Wild Bird Discussion Forum
ASM Spring Meeting: May 3-5 2013 in St. Joseph, MO
Details and online registration at: http://www.mobirds.org/ASM/Meetings.aspx
ABA Birding Code of Ethics
http://www.aba.org/about/ethics.html