Here comes the story of the day - I mentioned I spotted a helicopter when I was at the last cache. At the time, I thought it might be a TV news traffic chopper monitoring the choked traffic around the malls just to the south (after all, it IS Christmas Eve). I have to mention a small spoiler alert here - I was driving from light pole to light pole, finding these caches (sorry, but it's important to the story).
When I stopped next to this cache, I got out of the vehicle and the helicopter was still nearby. In fact, it was circling.... ME! I wondered if it was somebody learning how to fly and using my position to practice around. I watched it make two complete circles around my position. Weird. And a bit unsettling.
I wasn't doing anything nefarious, so I decided to grab the cache and go about my business. The wind didn't bother me too much here, so I decided to open, sign and replace the cache without a trip back to the warmth of the drivers seat. While I was taking care of the paperwork, I sensed that the sound of the helicopter rotors was intensifying...
I looked up and was STUNNED to see the helicopter landing on the street about 60 yards away from me! I also saw a word painted on the side of the machine that drained the blood from my face - SHERIFF. Uh oh. Am I on private property?? I walked about half-way between the cache and the helicopter and nervously smiled and waved at the pilot as he climbed out of the cockpit.
He asked me for my license, then while I was digging it out, he wanted to know why I was back here. I told him I was geocaching. He waited for more information. I repeated the word and asked if he knew about it. He said no, so I gave him the 60-second version of what geocaching is all about. I could tell he wasn't convinced, so I offered to show him the cache. He definitely wanted to see it. When I showed him the container, then the logsheet with my signature on it, he seemed to accept what I was saying.
He still wanted to verify my information, so he told me to wait, and I agreed. He got about 10 steps away when I stopped him. "I hate to ask, but could I take a picture of the helicopter? Nobody is going to believe me." He said to wait until he checked me out. I said okay. I went back to the vehicle and grabbed the camera, then returned to the "neutral zone" and waited.
He came back in just a couple minutes, handed me back the license and explained why he stopped me. "There have been problems back here. People pretending to be working on the utility poles have been opening them up, stripping out all the copper wire and taking it away to sell for money. We saw you stop at one pole, but you weren't there very long. When you stopped at the next light pole, we got concerned." It all made sense now. The officer told me to drive safely and have a good Holiday. We shook hands and he thanked me for the information on geocaching.
Before he left, I asked if he would prefer if I stopped what I was doing. He said it would be fine with him if I finished finding the rest of the caches. Just to be careful.
He was completely professional, courteous and patient with me. I never once felt threatened or concerned once we started chatting. I don't have a lot of interactions with police in any official manner. I hope they are always this reasonable.
I climbed back into my vehicle and they climbed back into the sky. What a wild adventure. I'll post the photo that goes along with the story.
Favorite point coming your way just for the wild memory of being stopped by a "Pie in the Sky."