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Old 11-12-2018, 04:49 PM   #1
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Propane theft

Well, in our new creative group of camping thieves I have had my propane stolen in storage twice in 60 days. I store in a locked yard and my two full tanks are being swapped for their two empty tanks, so it is a fellow RV that is in the storage lot. Obviously, they have found a way to get full propane tanks for their trip for free.
The first time I caught it on my routine check for propane prior to leaving on a trip. I noticed my tanks were a different make and empty. Interesting enough, this time I got my original empty tanks back and they took their full ones. They didnt even reconnect the hoses this time so I knew right away.
Solution:
I bought a 1 1/2” shackle Master lock for $7 at the depot. Took my cordless drill and in about 5 minutes effort my tanks now lock.
Even if you haven’t had propane tanks stolen yet, this mod is so inexpensive and simple to do I highly recommend it. It would ruin a trip if your tanks disappear.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:04 PM   #2
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You could also take a can of spray paint to your tanks. Also make sure the bottom of your ready rod has a been welded to the nut or they will just turn it out of the bottom nut and take the tanks.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:28 PM   #3
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I use two keyed-alike padlocks, and padlock my propane tanks to my safety tow chains. You can see one of the two locks in the photo below. Has worked so far, and also keeps someone from thinking about using the safety tow chains to make off with the whole camper - I hope....
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:31 PM   #4
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Take your good tanks off. Find two junk tanks that a propane seller will not fill. Give them a fresh paint job. Remove the valve apparatus and put 20 lbs of fine sand in each tank, and a note for the thief. Screw the valves back on but leave slightly loose, and hook up. Note will refer to recommendation as to where to pound the sand. Ask owner of storage yard if he has video surveillance.
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Old 11-12-2018, 05:49 PM   #5
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Take your good tanks off. Find two junk tanks that a propane seller will not fill. Give them a fresh paint job. Remove the valve apparatus and put 20 lbs of fine sand in each tank,
Iowa Dave
Heck, I'd leave it right there. Let the creep take them and install them. Hopefully he'll be in a situation where discovering the real situation with them is a major inconvenience. Or maybe in addition to the sand I'd pressurize them with some compressed air. Then when he opens the valve he might get some sand in his regulator. Honest, I'm usually pretty easy to get along with but I hate thieves.

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Old 11-12-2018, 06:10 PM   #6
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I’ve always been fascinated with booby traps and generally any spring loaded stuff.
Unfortunately the really effective remedies are often illegal. The proliferation of cameras with time stamps and the ability to read license plates is a good thing when it comes to illegal activities. We fought illegal dumping in remote areas for years. Cameras and cooperation from law enforcement people cut this down to a trickle. DNRs with amped up fines and multistate cooperative programs are using cameras effectively too. 4 deer, killed in southern Iowa, illegally by 5 out of state guys resulted in $23,000 in fines last month.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:21 PM   #7
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Locking safety chains, looped through propane tanks is also I solution, except, I've only actually done it once.
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Old 11-12-2018, 06:23 PM   #8
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I’ve always been fascinated with booby traps and generally any spring loaded stuff.
Unfortunately the really effective remedies are often illegal.
Iowa Dave
The first thing that would come to mind if it happened to me would be to re-purpose my electric cattle fence module. Then I'd probably end up getting sued by the thief.

Getting ripped off once would really annoy me. Having them come back a second time would definitely make me want to make sure there wasn't a third time. But Greg has taken the sensible mature route with the lock. Hope there isn't a third time.

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Old 11-12-2018, 06:57 PM   #9
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Iowa Dave, do you remember the incident back in the late 50’s or early 60,s where a farmer set a trap gun in a vacant farm house. He had some things stored in this vacant farm house and it was being broken into all the time. So he set a trap gun low to the floor and the thief suffered severe damage to his leg. The thief sued and got the farmers 80 acres of land. In my opinion, he didn’t set the gun high enough. You know, just above the shoulders. I think this was somewhere in southern Iowa. The neighbors bought the land back for the farmer and years later the thief committed suicide. So much for booby traps that can injure. Loren
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:06 PM   #10
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I think that was in the mid 60s and was in southern Iowa. Those trap gun setups were common back then. I stopped to ask if I could hunt a place once. It appeared to be completely lived in but nobody came to the door. I turned and walked back to the truck. A fellow drove in the gate at that time. He had watched me from across the road where he lived. He thanked me for not “poking around” as he put it. Then gave me permission. Said his mom was in the hospital for an extended stay. Can’t blame people for wanting to protect their property.
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:13 PM   #11
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If I recall those tabs on the holding mechanism are pretty flimsy. If I were to hit the tabs with a hammer and bend them up, would that defeat your locking result?
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Old 11-12-2018, 07:13 PM   #12
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Solution:
I bought a 1 1/2” shackle Master lock for $7 at the depot. Took my cordless drill and in about 5 minutes effort my tanks now lock.
A wonderfully simple solution. Opportunity thieves are always looking for the quick and easy. They will see the lock and just move on to a different trailer.

Added to my to-do list for when we get our 21 next February.

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Old 11-12-2018, 11:11 PM   #13
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I use to get my tanks stolen. I just use a bicycle lock and it works. They bypass mine and steal others.
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Old 11-12-2018, 11:24 PM   #14
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We've had a lock on our tanks from early on.


that would majorly suck to have them stolen. And then to get your originals back later on. Very ballsy on their part.


Personally, I'd be snooping around at all the other RVs in the lot to see who has what on their rigs.



Kind of makes one think of putting some sort of ID marker on there in big black letters or some such. Least that would have stopped someone from the same lot stealing them.


When I was in Astoria (WA) recently, someone across the way from me had most of their bikes stolen one night. They weren't locked up and just sitting under one of the slides.


Oh joy
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Old 11-12-2018, 11:33 PM   #15
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Assuming they are somewhere in the lot, if you put one of those bluetooth locator chip on your propane tank you can probably find them when needed.. the question is what do you want to do if/when you find it..

Probably easier to just not have them being stolen, I guess.
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Old 11-13-2018, 02:40 AM   #16
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This petty theft has become a horrible problem almost everywhere. One thing to know is that the police will NOT help you. If the thief should get caught, the penal system will offer a scolding and that is about it... no solution there. So what to do? Game / trail cameras are not very expensive …. I'd do a little research to try and find out who the problem is. Make it into a "game" … after all its only about $30.00 worth of propane plus cost of the tank(s). Trouble is the "cost" of worrying about your property all the time is very high and something no one should have to do.

I'd research the 'problem' and then plan a solution after you understand the parameters. Is the perpetrator some idiot with no job and 4 screaming kids at home or is it some worthless person needing propane for his meth lab? My reaction would be on a sliding scale.

Good luck Greg and another suggestion might be to use your brain as thieves rarely have one.

Tom

This is a very touchy subject for me as I store my trailer out of state.
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Old 11-13-2018, 04:53 AM   #17
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This petty theft has become a horrible problem almost everywhere. One thing to know is that the police will NOT help you. If the thief should get caught, the penal system will offer a scolding and that is about it... no solution there.
It's VERY important that all theft be reported. The police can move personnel around based on need. How would they know there's issues in a particular area unless they hear about it? And how would they know to hire more officers unless there's a need? There's very simplistic, but as citizens we also have a responsibility.

I hate thieves. Stealing food or diapers is one thing, stealing bicycles and propane tanks is something else. Since this occurred in a storage yard, it sounds like a person who owns a 'trailer.' IMHO that kind of theft falls into laziness and pure greed.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:31 AM   #18
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Personally, I'd be snooping around at all the other RVs in the lot to see who has what on their rigs.
Most tanks are probably under a cover. The problem is if someone else has had a problem and set up a camera, etc. and they see you snooping around now you are the suspect.
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Old 11-13-2018, 07:42 AM   #19
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Last time we were in Quartzite, you could see some guys cruising slowly around looking for unsecured generators and free-standing solar panels.
The rangers said they came back at night with very quiet ATV’s.
A neighbor had his Honda secured with a chain but the thief’s had a ‘master key’ in the form of big bolt cutters.

What’s a mother to do?

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Old 11-13-2018, 08:34 AM   #20
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Greg, does the storage lot not have surveillance cameras? I assumed this was one reason to use such a service.

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You could also take a can of spray paint to your tanks. Also make sure the bottom of your ready rod has a been welded to the nut or they will just turn it out of the bottom nut and take the tanks.
Good thought. You could just cork the threads too if you don't have a welder.

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Honest, I'm usually pretty easy to get along with but I hate thieves.
I fall into this category as well. It really pisses me off when someone is stealing and sells the stuff for pennies on the dollar.

When I had my work truck broken into and stolen and near $15k worth of tools stolen it was one of the most stressful times I have been through in many years. Dealing with the cops, and worse dealing with insurance companies did not help. To be fair the cops were good, so was the truck insurer, but my company general insurer was a royal pain in the butt to deal with. Add to that I had no tools to work with. I went a few days with no way to provide income, and even after that I kept needed a tool I had not replaced yet.

When I got my truck back it was trashed badly and full of garbage. When cleaning it up I found a kids sock with something in it, which turned out to be a glass crack pipe, go figure.
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I’ve always been fascinated with booby traps and generally any spring loaded stuff.
Unfortunately the really effective remedies are often illegal.
I hear you, I would just love to do something like that if I could be sure to catch the perp with it and not someone innocent. Getting it on camera would be a bonus.
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