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Thread: Any of you guys ever get in trouble with Johnny Law because of metal detecting

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  1. #1
    us
    Only boaring people get board

    Nov 2018
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    Any of you guys ever get in trouble with Johnny Law because of metal detecting

    Any of you guys ever get in any trouble with the law when metal detecting... Recently I had a encounter with a property owner nothing came of it since i wasn't on their property but it did get me wondering about trespassing charges....
    releventchair likes this.

  2. #2
    us
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    If you know where you can or can’t be there is rarely an issue. A friendly demeanor from afar goes a long way when in public places. Just remember...EVERYTHING is owned by someone.
    Toecutter, tokameel, AARC and 2 others like this.

  3. #3
    Charter Member
    us
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    I've had the police stop and ask me what I was doing while detecting at a High School but that's about it.
    Toecutter and Chug And Red like this.

  4. #4
    us
    Only boaring people get board

    Nov 2018
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLK HOLE View Post
    I've had the police stop and ask me what I was doing while detecting at a High School but that's about it.
    I work for a hospital and we have a few remote clinics in rural towns, Iv had them stop to ask if i had permission to be their, no one called it in they were just asking but never had any issues...

  5. #5
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    Chris

    May 2011
    Western Mass.
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    The one everybody else missed.
    Several years back I was hunting the high school football stadium(locked up)I was let in by one one the DPW guys,well I see this cruiser pull up and the officer asked how I got in there,I told him and ANOTHER cruiser pulls up and ANOTHER..I told them it's PUBLIC and there has to be a NO METAL DETECTING sign,one smart ass officer said "That doesn't you can do it here"..what a

    bozo(some of them are) so I left.Early this spring I was hunting curb strips,I see a cruiser coming and kept hunting.."Sir would you come over here" I told Him curb strips are town owned open to metal detecting,He said someone called and said I left holes open,I responded in a rather loud voice "I am very meticulous putting plugs back",right away I could see He was very irritated by my raised

    voice..so best thing to do was back off and told Him I'm leaving..He also asked for an ID,called it in for wants and warrants...CREEP... so I left.
    EVER WONDER WHERE YOUR THOUGHTS COME FROM?

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  6. #6
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    Digging in the dirt & scooping in the water!
    I was hitting a rest area on I-77 South of Cleveland in the 80's. A cop tapped me on the shoulder while I was digging my second target - the first was a silver dime.

    He said I was trespassing and I needed to leave.

    I said "Yessir", turned off my detector and packed it away and left. Always be polite!
    Republic of Vietnam 10/69 - 3/71, Cambodia April 27, 1970 on a mountain top with HUGE scorpions

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  7. #7
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    TerryrSoloman.com

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    If you have been a metal detector in a suburban area for a length of time, you have probably had at least a casual encounter with a law enforcement officer.

  8. #8
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    Ed

    Jul 2018
    Eastern Connecticut
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    I've never been "in trouble" but I've had encounters with the police in my 37 years of detecting. They ranged from "are you finding anything"? (nice guy) to being told to wait in my car while he calls in to see if there are any warrants out on me (Barney Fife Jerk). I was told by one cop that the only time they'll investigate is when someone calls in. Back in the "good old days" before cell phones I never got hassled but now anyone can just whip out their cell phone and call in a complaint even if you're not breaking any law. The problem is....most people don't know the law so they call and complain because they think we're lawbreakers and the cops aren't sure of the law either so they don't tell the caller that they don't have a legitimate complaint.

  9. #9

    Mar 2007
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    I've had plenty of "scrams". But never anything of legal consequence.
    Toecutter likes this.

  10. #10
    us
    Mar 2011
    San Diego
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    This always an interesting subject that seems to bring out all the dire predictions of jail if you detect public property without getting permission from somebody in authority. Private property? Absolutely, get permission. Public property has rules and regs governing that plot of land and it's available to anyone who wants to view them, either online or at the city/county courthouse. There are gray areas where we might get a rule applied to us when it really wasn't meant to prevent metal detecting. I've had many encounters with LEO's over my 49 years of detecting. Most are cool, curious about what you've found and just explain that they are responding to someone's complaint or concern. If you've been making clean recoveries and are friendly and polite, usually they just wish you good luck and are on their way to more important duties. Sometimes you get what Clad2Silver mentioned.....the Barney Fife. Usually a rookie still feeling power drunk. With those, it's best just to be polite, don't argue, and move on to someplace else. We here all know the absurdity of painting us with the same brush as a vandal or thief, but, those who are unfamiliar with our hobby might not see that absurdity. Here's one encounter my friends and I had one time in a local park.
    It's an old park. Old coins and relics have been found here, so, we love to hunt the place. There are condos next door and there apparently is someone living there overlooking the park that thinks the park is not public and belongs to them. Not true of course. We've researched the place and reviewed the rules before we first started detecting there. So, we're busy having fun detecting on a cool winter morning the day after we had a pretty decent rainstorm. The ground is nice and soft, we're getting good depth on our machines, and finding some 100+ year old coins. Suddenly, a police car jumps the curb, over the sidewalk and comes ripping through the park right up to where we're detecting. Out pops the driver and his partner with the attitude that we're all on the FBI's most wanted list. They start reading us the riot act about violating the law and that we would have to leave or be arrested. We're polite and explain that we've researched all the rules regarding this park and didn't see anything preventing us from enjoying our hobby there. We also asked politely if he could explain which law we were violating and cite chapter and verse of where it's written. Well, that kind of dumbfounded them both, as they didn't know, but, they had a complaint and they had to respond. We kind of insisted on knowing as we wanted to avoid this problem in the future, and would they be so kind as to find out. While we were waiting to hear from the higher ups, we discussed our hobby, explained how we made recoveries, asked if they could see where we'd made any (they couldn't), etc. Well, half an hour later and repeated calls between them and headquarters, they finally said it was under the "damage, alter, deface" general rules that are part of every public place in America. These weren't recent laws directed at us or our hobby, but, meant to prevent people from defacing or destroying picnic tables, drinking fountains, benches and the like. It also was meant to keep people from removing plants and grass to landscape their own property. When the word came over the police radio, it was loud enough for all of us to hear. At about the same time my friends and I, along with the cops all in unison looked down to see the 8" deep ruts that the patrol car had made in the grass while driving though the park that day after the rain. They had this sheepish look on their face, got in their car, and told us to continue our responsible ways as they drove away. Soon as they were out of earshot, we busted up laughing and continued on detecting the rest of the day without incident. The bottom line is that if you're going to stay in this hobby any length of time, and are going to detect public property, you're going to encounter people who complain about what you are doing. Oh well, you're just going to have to decide to either only hunt private property with permission, roll with the punches on public property, or give up the hobby.
    "jus cuz it's wrote down, don't make it so"

  11. #11
    Charter Member
    us
    Nov 2012
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    No, no problems with the law. Had a nice conversation with an officer years ago who wanted to know if I found anything. (He kinda musta figgered I had permission as I had parked 80' from the farm house and in plain, unobstructed sight of it.) Nice encounter.

    Now just plain folks, they're crazier than bat sheet!

  12. #12
    us
    Aug 2011
    ctx 3030 nokta impact Equinox 800
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    The best thing to do when the law approaches is....be friendly and keep talking. Explain what your doing answer all questions politely. Remember these are people doing their job. If you start acting like they are beneath you, forget it. You are asking for it.
    Tom_in_CA, AARC, RustyGold and 2 others like this.
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  13. #13
    Charter Member
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    tokameel

    May 2012
    Mequon, Wi
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    Looking for Error coins from the bank. Update: I can MD using my wheelchair!
    One morning, in a nearby small town, I sat at an outdoor coffee shop and waited for a squad car to go by. I flagged him down and asked if I could detect in their park, near the old band shell. He said lets take a look. He asked his squad's computer and the printout said that "Metal detector users may NOT dig holes on public land.".... So I asked if I could just swing and ping over the lawn for surface targets. He said "I guess so, have fun."
    AARC and AllenJ like this.
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  14. #14
    us
    Apr 2019
    Northeast Wisconsin
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    This was a concern of mine befor i started getting into detecting. I did a lot of research on laws an rules. I read alot of past chats an learned from reading them.

    I have several private places to detect at and have gotten WRITTEN permission from owners. Even down loaded a app to show me property lines an can show if anybody says im on their property my exact location + or - 15 ft .

    It also shows who owns the land village, town, state, county, and no what laws apply. I have taken several pics an saved on my phone to show if im asked what laws apply or not.

    I figured if i did all this sn do get stoped or asked i might just show good faith that i did my home work an never wanted or intended to cause or have problems.

  15. #15

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
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    Quote Originally Posted by tokameel View Post
    ... He asked his squad's computer and the printout said that "Metal detector users may NOT dig holes on public land."....
    Couple of observations here :

    1) The mere fact that the officer had to find out elsewhere (@ his computer or whatever) TELLS YOU WHAT ? It tells you he didn't know the answer to that question prior to your asking. That's why he had to look it up . Hence meaning : That if that same officer had been happen-chance passing you by, he would not have known . Since he apparently was unaware of that rule before-hand. And thus would likely have ignored you .... and/or not even mentally registered you.

    But now that you've brought this to his attention, guess what will happen the next time he sees another md'r ? He's going to remember the earlier inquiry and think: "Aha! there's one of *them*". And start booting others.

    2) While I acknowledge that it appears there's fine print @ wherever you're at, that actually mentions "metal detector " by specific name, Yet: In the context of what it says there, it really didn't even need to mention "metal detectors". Because, as you and the officer surmised, it never said you can't detect. It just said you can't dig. Right ?

    But I got news for you: That didn't even need to be said. Because I can guarantee you that similar language will exist in every single park across the entire USA. In some form or fashion. Aka : Alter, deface, dig, molest & destroy, etc..... If all such things mean "No detecting", then save yourself some trouble at the next park you come to . Don't even bother asking. You can be assured ahead of time that this type obligatory verbiage exists everywhere.

    Kind of odd that our forums are FILLED with people posting show & tell from (gasp) parks. Now how could that possibly be ? Hmmm. I guess they didn't ask enough questions, with the right wording. Tsk tsk.

    3) I'll bet you dollars to donuts I know how your specific locale's verbiage did happen to specifically mention "metal detectors". Care to guess ?

 

 
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