Seven minutes is all it took for our RV to be burglarized, to lose $12,000 and counting worth of equipment – just about everything of value inside the motorhome except the dog.
Yes, just seven minutes.
That's all it took for the bad guys to come into our space, take our stuff.
We know it was only seven minutes, too, from our dash cam recording most of it.
But as Jennifer points out, what they physically took are only things. The stuff is just that – stuff.
And, yes, it isn't fun, but it is life and when things like this happen, you have two choices: bury your head in the sand or learn from it and move on.
So we move on.
We WILL continue with our trip out west along Route 66. We WILL continue to bring you the Roadtreking podcast.
In fact, we bring you this podcast using one of the pieces of equipment that the thieves somehow missed. Jennifer and I use this horrible experience to hopefully benefit you, the listener, and talk about what – if anything – could have possibly been done differently. Among other things, we discuss:
- How you should always be sure your doors are locked when leaving, but new tech used by the bad guys might make even that easy to bypass
- How one piece of tech – my dash cam – may have recorded the thieves in action and end up providing crucial evidence to catch them
- How you should prepare your personal computer in case of emergency/theft
- How the theft was able to happen, even with our dog still in the RV
- Why you need to check the coverage limits of your RV insurance policy for personal effects right NOW
- Why you should be aware of the communities in which you are stopping
Complete shownotes for episode 36 of the Roadtreking RV Lifestyle podcast:
First Things First: Roadtreking RV Burglarized in Illinois
It happened just across the Mississippi River – from St. Louis in Collinsville, Ill. – when we stopped for dinner about 6:15 p.m. at a restaurant in a busy shopping mall off Interstate-55. It was a pretty upscale mall too, with lots of well known stores and restaurants and traffic.
While we were inside eating, at least two thieves somehow gained entry to our Roadtrek CS Adventurous XL and, in about seven minutes took more than $12,000 worth of electronic gear from our rig – including all of the video and still cameras and most of the mobile podcasting studio gear I had taken for the trip.
Police blamed gangs from nearby East St. Louis. A guy towing a U-Haul who also stopped for dinner and parked a few spaces down was also hit. They smashed a window out to gain entry to his vehicle and also took a computer.
It turns out, though, that my dash cam may have captured an image of one of the thieves who looked to be casing our RV. A “person of interest” can be clearly seen on the dash cam peering in the front.
Under his left arm he is carrying what may be burglary tools. It looks like a hammer wrapped up in a towel and some sort of device.
Seconds before he walked out of sight, someone entered from the side and was joined by an accomplice. I've given the evidence over to police. They would like to identify and talk to the person seen here.
Alas, because the dash cam pointed outward, we did not get an image of the thieves who were inside. The dash cam did record some of their audio. They can be heard talking nicely to Tai, who, knowing him, was probably delighted by the company.
The inside was totally ransacked. Every cupboard was opened and all the contents strewn about. You can hear the thieves delighting over the laptops. “What's this,” one of them asked, followed by the sounds of things falling to the floor.
I can't begin to describe how incredibly sad it is to hear these lowlifes talking so casually about the things they were finding and stealing. They laughed and sounded totally at ease. In Jennifer's tote bag were some personal items, things of absolutely no value or meaning to the thieves, but things that were meaningful to her.
Both of our laptops, an iPad, chargers, my professional video camera, my high end Canon 5D Mark III DSLR camera with a memory card full of Route 66 photos, my multichannel podcast mixing board, a Rand McNally GPS, a portable printer and all sorts of cables and stuff like a backpack, Jennifer's tote bag and even my shower soap, shampoo and deodorant were taken.
When we came back out from the restaurant about 7:03 PM, the thieves were gone and Tai looked stressed. He knew stuff wasn't supposed to be tossed all over the RV. Fortunately, the thieves did not hurt him. As I mentioned, they can be heard talking soothingly to him as they stole our stuff.
After police took our report, I went to a nearby Best Buy and bought a replacement computer. I stayed up all night, first configuring it and then, account by account, changing passwords on my email accounts, my credit card companies, my bank and other personally sensitive information. Then I did it all for Jennifer. Then we called our accountant and bank to alert them to be on the alert for suspicious activity.
I also am glad I have a Mac. I used Apple's”Find My Mac” service to first see if I could locate the stolen laptop. It didn't show but I clicked the “notify me if found” box, which, as soon as it goes online, will send me a map of its location. I also send an erase command which will wipe the had disk and lock the machine so it can not be used. This is a great service and well worth the cost of buying Apple.
Tips: Lessons Learned from the Roadtreking RV Break-In
We share in this podcast the lessons we have learned from our RV being burglarized and a suspicion that thieves are using technology to transmit radio signals that mimic the unlock signals transmitted by key fobs.
If so, that would explain why there was no sign of forced entry. Because as we left the vehicle, as normal, Jennifer asked if I had locked it. I distinctly remember walking to the side passenger window, pushing the lock button on the key fob, and seeing and hearing the inside locks depress.
Almost as frustrating an experience of being robbed is the runaround I'm now getting from my insurance carrier. The claims investigator who called me back yesterday said because there was no forced entry evidence, they probably won't pay.
The company I used specializes in insuring recreational vehicles. But if they deny my claim, they are going to literally have a very unhappy camper on their case.
The rationale suggested by the claims agent is simply unacceptable. These thieves illegally entered our home. The RV is our home. They violated that home and stole from us. Now, the insurance agency is hinting it will do the same thing by not paying.
We'll see what happens as the claim works its way up but I urge all of you to carefully check your policies.
Inventory the items you take with you and make sure you are adequately covered by a reputable agency.
Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Van City RV in St. Louis, Mo.
Van City RV only sells Class B. RVs. Owner Ray Dwyer has been in the RV business for 44 years and is considered the dean of Class B RVs. Nobody knows more about small motorhomes that Ray and his crew. They have new and used Class B motorhomes in stock from the major manufacturers. When you fly in to buy your RV from Van City, they'll arrange to have you picked up from the airport and will reimburse you $500 toward your airfare. Then, your RV will be fully prepared for travel, complete with full tanks of fuel and propane. After a complete orientation with their staff on your new RV, you can take delivery and set out for home. Dan the Van Man gives the week's specials on the podcast.
Listener Feedback: Why Type B RV Owners are Trendsetters
We share some feedback from a listener who comments on trends in RVing, specifically when it comes to Type A, Type B, or any other type of RV.
Listener Feedback: We Want Roadtreking Logo Stickers!
A listener writes to us and asks if we would consider selling stickers, etc. with the Roadtreking logo. Mike responds to the idea.
Listener Feedback: We Want to Know Where You Are!
A listener wonders if there is a way to somehow know where the Wendlands are as they travel across the country. Mike points them to MapMyTour http://trackmytour.com/N9pVm You can click on this and follow us as we make our way across the country.
RV News of the Week: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Grizzlies at Glacier, Overturned RV in La.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Cananda – Two men were found dead of apparent carbon monoxide poisoning in a camping trailer in Quebec. Police are saying that carbon monoxide from the camper's propane heating system is likely to blame. (Read more)
Garbage and Grizzlies and Glacier – We talked a lot about bears in episode 35 of the Roadtreking podcast. Here's another bear story: this time about how garbage spawned a grizzly problem at Glacier National Park. (Read more)
Overturned RV in La. – A video captured from a dash cam shows an RV losing control and eventually overturning. Several things may have kept this accident from being more serious. (Read more)
Sponsoring this part of the podcast is Alde Hydronic Heating, the only name in heat that you need to know for your RV
The Alde system brings many features and benefits not found with any other product, including:
- Silent Radiant Heat – providing a warm even natural heated interior. Great for pets. (And Humans)
- Increased Interior Space by combining two systems in one.
- Efficiency. The whole system draws less than 1 amp on 12V DC and will extend the life of your propane roughly 40 percent over forced air.
- Heating on Electric or Gas.
- Multiple Options and Amenities: Towel Warmers, Floor Heat, Tank Heating, 4 Season Camping, Engine Heat, Driver Comfort.
- Modern Programmable Color Touch Screen Thermostat and Interface
- Minimal Side-Wall Penetration. Small combined intake and exhaust eliminate big cut outs and sidewall congestion.
Traveling Tech: Windshield Witness Dash Cam
Mike talks about the Windshield Witness dash cam in an especially timely report about how important a dash cam can be – helping you capture everything from what happens on the road to what happens when you're off the road. (Read more)
This podcast is brought to you by Verizon Wireless, the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network.
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Visit Roadtreking.com/vzw for stories about how technology can enhance and improve your life
RV Bucket List Destination: Route 66
Mike and Jennifer has begun their trip to travel Route 66 – the iconic route stretching from Chicago to California and also one of their RV bucket list destinations.
Since 1926, driving down Route 66 has been the experience of a lifetime for travelers, adventurers, desperados and dreamers. Being the oldest Route 66 resource on the web, the Historic 66 web site is dedicated to provide information for all those who want to learn more about the legendary Mother Road.
These days, it's almost all Europeans. We've met travelers from the UK, France, Finland, Norway and Dubai.
While officially Route 66 no longer exists, a great deal of it remains to be driven and enjoyed and local communities are restoring it an adding new attractions.
But perhaps the most compelling reason to follow Route 66 is to experience the road’s ingrained time line of contemporary America. Before it was called Route 66, and long before it was even paved in 1926, this corridor was traversed by the National Old Trails Highway, one of the country’s first transcontinental highways.
We lost all but our cellphone photos because most of the pictures I took were with my good Canon DSLR.
But we'll continue all this week as we head west, using our cell cameras to capture what we can.
This part of the podcast is brought to you by Leisure Time RV, serving central Florida and the Internet from Winter Garden, Fla.
- One of the oldest Roadtrek dealers in U.S – Family-owned and 45 years in business;
- Selling Roadtreks over 25 years;
- Consistently among top 10 Roadtrek dealers in U.S.;
- Fully-stocked parts store- Factory-preferred parts dealership for Roadtrek (see Maureen!);
- Knowledgeable staff /sales/service. (general sales manager and one of top salespersons both own Roadtreks).
- Convenient location – Destination location in Florida;
- Full-line Roadtrek inventory;
- Leisure Time RV supports Roadtrek Rallys;
- Pet friendly dealership;
- Member, Route 66 RV Network – National Service Network;
- Accessible Management / Friendly Staff;
- Factory-trained staff;
- Free overnight camping available;
- Free WiFi;
- Comfortable customer lounge;
- Free airport shuttles;
- Thorough product demonstrations;
- Two convenient camping resorts within minutes of Leisure Time RV.
- Convenient dining and shopping options nearby;
- Dealerships specializes in fuel-efficient RVs;
- Air-conditioned showroom.
Please Subscribe and Give Us a Rating and Review!
Many listeners are asking how they can subscribe, review and rate the Roadtreking Podcast on iTunes. With a new podcast like this, those reviews and ratings are really important to be able to show well in the iTunes listings. So if you can, I’d sure appreciate it if you’d subscribe and leave me your review.
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