Wood thief

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,470
SEPA
IDK... he's from PA, there was a sign on the Delaware bridge a while ago when leaving NJ, it said "Welcome to PA, America starts here".. its so true on so many different levels.
Ha! I don't know what you mean by this, but I'm guessing it is meant to be some sort of slight, Kenny. And, I guess you think that everyone in PA has the same opinions and values. It even presumes that I am from PA, and haven't just moved here. Well, I suppose that you are just trying to express who you are.

I'm not intending to offer my opinion as to whether I think it's OK to set a boobytrap. I am just relaying that the either by legal statute or legal precedent, you'd be the one in trouble if you set such a boobytrap and the thief or anyone else was hurt. Don't blame me for the law.

Now, since you asked, here's my opinion: I think that anyone who set such a boobytrap would probably forget in time that it was there, and put it into their own fire, or perhaps their wife, kid, or friend would unknowingly grab it and throw it into a fire. Which is at least part of why it is illegal.

And, I am always amused by people who walk around with their chest puffed out talking about defending themselves and their property with lethal force. If you think that you win when you kill or maim someone, regardless of the circumstances, it just means that you either haven't done it, or you need to look in the mirror a little more carefully.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,386
07462
but I'm guessing it is meant to be some sort of slight, Kenny
Actually the other way around lol, I'm saying from my nanny state perspective that everything gets tied back to the owner of the property whether they are responsible or not. Lawyers will argue tooth and nail that there poor innocent burglars are the victims in NJ.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,470
SEPA
What legal precedent is there showing that one party can successfully sue another after they hurt themselves with property stolen from the other party
Setting booby traps is illegal in most, if not all states. Even if not to protect the thief, then to protect you, if you forget, or other unintended victims, say your kids.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,327
central pa
Now, since you asked, here's my opinion: I think that anyone who set such a boobytrap would probably forget in time that it was there, and put it into their own fire, or perhaps their wife, kid, or friend would unknowingly grab it and throw it into a fire. Which is at least part of why it is illegal.
Very true. I was not able to find anything saying it was illegal as long as the materials you were using were legal but I agree it is a bad idea.


And, I am always amused by people who walk around with their chest puffed out talking about defending themselves and their property with lethal force. If you think that you win when you kill or maim someone, regardless of the circumstances, it just means that you either haven't done it, or you need to look in the mirror a little more carefully.
I wholeheartedly agree. Protecting my property is not worth someones life. My family yes but some wood or some other replaceable property no way.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,327
central pa
Setting booby traps is illegal in most, if not all states. Even if not to protect the thief, then to protect you, if you forget, or other unintended victims, say your kids.
I agree it is a bad idea but I could not find any legal precedent. But I absolutely could be wrong
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,470
SEPA
Actually the other way around lol, I'm saying from my nanny state perspective that everything gets tied back to the owner of the property whether they are responsible or not. Lawyers will argue tooth and nail that there poor innocent burglars are the victims in NJ.
There's egg on my face! I'm going to go have another cup of coffee, I clearly need it, and go enjoy this beautiful February day. Maybe even work on the wood stash a little bit...
 

fishki

Member
Jan 5, 2017
225
SE Kansas
I recently read a news article where a legal marijuana farm had set a booby trap, sheet of ply wood with a couple hundred 3" screws in it, when a break in occurred the only person caught was a police officer who jumped a gate and impaled his foot on the screws, I believe they stated their is no law/statute in which to charge the owner since booby traps were defined as spring loaded devices etc. (cant remember all the details).

But back to booby trapping firewood, I would think loading a piece with firecrackers or gunpowder would no longer become a booby trap once it left your property. You have basically built a bomb that you have allowed someone to walk off with.

And looking at this a different way. If I were a thief and had a piece of firewood explode in my stove, catching my house on fire, even maybe injuring a family member. Yep, I'm admitting to stealing the wood and telling the police where I stole it from. They would be asking questions anyway once an investigation was done into the cause of the fire. The police will surely pay you a visit and you might just have your own crime to answer for.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,470
SEPA
I recently read a news article where a legal marijuana farm had set a booby trap, sheet of ply wood with a couple hundred 3" screws in it, when a break in occurred the only person caught was a police officer who jumped a gate and impaled his foot on the screws, I believe they stated their is no law/statute in which to charge the owner since booby traps were defined as spring loaded devices etc. (cant remember all the details).

But back to booby trapping firewood, I would think loading a piece with firecrackers or gunpowder would no longer become a booby trap once it left your property. You have basically built a bomb that you have allowed someone to walk off with.

And looking at this a different way. If I were a thief and had a piece of firewood explode in my stove, catching my house on fire, even maybe injuring a family member. Yep, I'm admitting to stealing the wood and telling the police where I stole it from. They would be asking questions anyway once an investigation was done into the cause of the fire. The police will surely pay you a visit and you might just have your own crime to answer for.
Interesting analysis, I like it. These are most certainly not the days to be messing around with anything that could be considered a bomb.
 

Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
694
Rochester NY
So then the thief has the burden of proof that the real owner of the wood intentionally made a "bomb" in a piece of firewood that was then stolen by said thief who is now somehow a victim. A thief who's word would have to be taken that HE didn't intentionally do that himself because, I don't know, let's say there'd be a nice insurance payout? A guy desperate enough to steal firewood wouldn't be desperate enough to do something that stupid for insurance reasons, right???

Let's also not forget there is such a thing called the "Clean Hands Doctrine" essentially meaning that you can't seek the court system's help if you have engaged in fraudulent dealings regarding the case. Other examples besides stealing a rigged piece of firewood would be people getting ripped off for drugs or drug money, etc. Someone who gets robbed for $20 while trying to buy drugs has no legal foot to stand on to get that back.


I see that lawsuit being destroyed by any decent defense lawyer. I'm not saying it's worth it over some firewood, but I'm saying I totally disagree with everyone saying you will be out everything to your name. It's an interesting topic anyway, I've really never thought about it until now.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,272
WI, Leroy
Yep that's the way it goes now days, If a victim stands up for one's self all of a sudden he/she magically becomes the perp. I have an extremely difficult time wrapping my mind around that. I have an acquaintance in that scenario right now. He has a court appointed atty- who doesn't give a rats xxx. Now he did waste the perp ( I'm not condoning that) - last resort, 3 -45acp rounds will do that at close range, so the whole book plus is being tossed at him. He does have a witness- retired LEO who was with him at the time. He thinks he is going to beat it ( optimism on his part) I think he will end up a ward of the state for what time he has left ( his age 66 - original perp 1/2 that with a nice rap sheet). Of course at this point the original perp is a golden angel per usual. This went down in front of a police station daylight hours- made the news nationally, conflicting and twisted news stories as is the norm. I do not know all the details but more than the news services. I do know the atmosphere of the municipality involved hence my statement above concerning out come in the courts. Catch 22
 
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bfitz3

Feeling the Heat
Jan 6, 2015
384
Northern Michigan
Thief steals $10 in wood. Small fine. Maybe some days in the clink.

Homeowner blows up the persons stove, burns down their house, maybe kills a kid or the thief's gramma next door who just couldn't afford to heat her house. Major time, if convicted. Regardless, the homeowner is going to hell, for sure.

The homeowner is civilly liable, just as the thief is. All parties will be made whole by the courts. All parties will do time. The homeowner will lose much more.

A system of vigilante justice is not a system that will work for a civil society. Maybe the vigilante gets the right guy. Sadly, given enough chances, innocents will become victims at the hands of vigilantes and pretty soon, we're talking Hatfield-McCoy stupidity. Is that a world that anyone wants? Can we stop acting all macho here and just admit that losing wood to a thief sucks, but the prospect of booby trapping stuff is twisted, amoral, and just flat out wrong?

Anyway, here's a case to ponder. Also, if you look up the definition of a booby trap, anything explosive in a piece of firewood fits the bill.

http://articles.latimes.com/1999/dec/19/news/mn-45474

Before anyone gets on the liberals of California, please note this is a case from Wisconsin.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
18,327
central pa
Can we stop acting all macho here and just admit that losing wood to a thief sucks, but the prospect of booby trapping stuff is twisted, amoral, and just flat out wrong?
I agree completly
 

Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
694
Rochester NY
Would I booby trap my wood? No...I'd definitely set up cameras and go from there.

The point I'm making is how heavy that burden of proof would be. How do you prove the wood came from the other guys pile and that he rigged it as an explosive? Is it illegal to stuff wood with firecrackers and blow it up in your own back yard for your own amusement (ok that's far fetched). Can anyone prove it was stolen from your pile of wood and not someone else's? What's the difference between that and trespassing on someone's land and getting attacked by their dog?

Again, don't booby trap your wood pile, it's hardly worth it. But it's pretty sad that people think standing up for yourself means being macho. Especially when it comes to thieves.
 

Jason845845

Feeling the Heat
Aug 11, 2014
364
Kingston, Ny
I've put a little thought into what I would do if I caught someone stealing from my meager wood stacks, and came to the conclusion that I would most likely help them load up and send them on their way.

If you are stealing firewood, you are clearly way down on your luck and don't need to be beaten down any more.

I'm far from being a liberal commie, most would consider me a right wing nut job, but this is how I feel on this subject.
 
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glennm

Burning Hunk
Dec 26, 2010
192
S Ontario
A guy that was getting his firewood ripped off put up a sign that said there is one split in the pile that was filled with explosives. He came home from work to find a new sign, Now there are two splits :)
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,272
WI, Leroy
asking and giving verifiable information I will help out. Just plain helping your self in the dead of night or when ever - world of hurt coming your way legally or the old fashioned way, the first is preferable the second, well your choice there. Around here unless I can hand everything on a golden platter to the authorities nothing will be done ( have the T shirt) Since the late 60's I have had to deal with internal theft, embezzlement, about a dozen breakins( various locations) shop and home, And those that pilfer 24/7. I do not have a lot of tolerance left in me at this point- ( that's 50 years worth) and more than a couple 100 thousand dollars worth. In the last 6 days my shop phone line was messed with, and my sole credit card was also attacked ( business card) . The good humor man is now pissed off- and that ain't pretty. By the way AT&T fraud system is useless, if you can even manage to contact a real person - and if you do it is always( according to them) the wrong dept. Credit card is less of a hassle but that is providing you can talk to someone that actually speaks and understands english and is located stateside. It's been a bad week. sorry for the rant.
 

fishki

Member
Jan 5, 2017
225
SE Kansas
Depending on the situation, if they were in need of heat and had no other means of heating, yes I would help out, asking would be best though.
If they were stealing a truckload to resell to buy drugs or such, nope, they are going to jail.
If they are just stealing a few splits for the hell of it, they can possibly have the choice of replacing it and doing some free work for me to pay me back for the trouble of hunting them down or I call the police and let them handle it.

I tend to be a very nice person, especially to those down on their luck. But if someone starts rummaging through my stuff like its theirs and helping them selves, that's where the line is drawn. Luckily the small town I'm in just has a bunch of well known petty thieves that like to tell on each other when they get caught.
 

kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
4,386
07462
Remember the Halloween Blizzard of 2012 in the Northeast? Large parts of my town was out of power for almost 10 day, my friend and fellow firefighter was at the fire house working (members opened it at a warming shelter, charging center, place to get a hot meal) while he was doing community work (volunteer) someone in his neighborhood jacked about 1 cord of his firewood pile.
People will do stupid things out of desperation or there perceived emergency.
 

JRHAWK9

Minister of Fire
Jan 8, 2014
1,138
Wisconsin Dells, WI
asking and giving verifiable information I will help out. Just plain helping your self in the dead of night or when ever - world of hurt coming your way legally or the old fashioned way, the first is preferable the second, well your choice there. Around here unless I can hand everything on a golden platter to the authorities nothing will be done ( have the T shirt) Since the late 60's I have had to deal with internal theft, embezzlement, about a dozen breakins( various locations) shop and home, And those that pilfer 24/7. I do not have a lot of tolerance left in me at this point- ( that's 50 years worth) and more than a couple 100 thousand dollars worth. In the last 6 days my shop phone line was messed with, and my sole credit card was also attacked ( business card) . The good humor man is now pissed off- and that ain't pretty. By the way AT&T fraud system is useless, if you can even manage to contact a real person - and if you do it is always( according to them) the wrong dept. Credit card is less of a hassle but that is providing you can talk to someone that actually speaks and understands english and is located stateside. It's been a bad week. sorry for the rant.
Sounds like you need to move out of Milwaukee. I lived in various locations in that city during the 4 years I attended UWM in the mid 90's, with the worst being around 64th & Congress where my buddies car got stolen TWICE, a girl got r*ped across the street and one night we came home to a guy walking down the alley with our gas grill.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,272
WI, Leroy
Have been in and out of the metro area for years- with some stints in other locals as well- When i was much younger it was farm life- people problems were dealt with on the spot. Repeats seldom happened. The ills of society have gotten worse over the years re-enforced by the govt hand out programs. I am well aware of the area you mentioned as well as many others. Short story- 61st and Main St Milw. Feb in the 70's, sub zero temps,Brace of Brittany spaniels ( big ones 55 # ea) 2 am dogs agitated let them out the back door, front door bell rings , Neighbor telling me my snowblower is out in the alley- he was just coming home from his LEO job. He asks where are pups said I just let them out. He said I will call it in and ask for a bus as well. Yes the dogs got the perps couple blocks away. Female came back bloody- not hers, male a short bit after her with a bloody pants leg as a trophy. He was quite proud of it. So the local leo's show up, salt and pepper team, Give them the what and why- They went and collected perps ( blood trail made it easy) which were in a world of hurt. Sometimes things work so nicley. Lived in Beloit early 70's for a few years shop and home and car jacked down there. home was right next to police station. no success there. Downtown Milw. mid 90's shop jacked 3 times in six weeks- along with a ton of other establishments in the area. That one they finally caught up with about 3 months later. Late 60's guy broke into my car, 64 ford Galaxy 2 door about 9:30 pm Brookfield Sq, Parking lot, Broke both his legs when I body slammed the door on him. He was part of a group that had been breaking in to cars there for several months. He sold out his buddies. That door was about 4ft long and in the 150 # class back when cars were actually were made of steel and not tin. I was never sued for whatever. That is a relativley new problem compounding things- again a society thing.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,272
WI, Leroy
tasty.