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Deputies offer tips to keep valuables safe at trail heads

By Jordan Moore, KTVM Reporter, jmoore@ktvm.com
Published On: May 18 2014 05:50:33 PM MDT
Updated On: May 18 2014 10:41:17 PM MDT
BOZEMAN, Mont. -

Despite the rainy weather over the weekend, this is prime hiking season in western Montana. Unfortunately, that can also mean it is prime time for thieves, looking for easy pickings with unlocked vehicles at the trail head.

On Sunday afternoon we met Deputy Matt Boxmeyer with the Gallatin County Sheriff's Office out at the popular "M" trail, just outside of Bozeman.

"As many vehicles as we have in the parking lot today, it's a better opportunity I think, when there are more vehicles because somebody is not going to notice," said Boxmeyer.

On Sunday it was a place with non-stop foot and car traffic. It is also a place Deputy Boxmeyer expects to find himself regularly for the next few months.

"Now that we have warm weather, people are going to go out and recreate. When you have more people recreating, it creates more opportunity for thieves and for people that are opportunists that just show up at a trail head and see something nice in the back of someones pickup," said Boxmeyer.

We spoke to several hikers like Ben Rankin who frequent the "M" trail, and many others around town. He tells me locking his doors is something he does every time he hits the trail.

"I always lock my car before I go and anything that I'm going to loose I'm going to put it in my car and lock it," said Rankin.

We found other hikers, like Kyle Klicker are taking it a step further, and keeping everything of value within arms reach.

"And I try not to bring anything into the car that is of value, in other words the car is pretty much empty when I leave it," said Klicker.

Boxmeyer says if you are in a situation where you have to store some valuables in the car, it is important to make sure they are out of site.

"When somebody walks by a vehicle and they see something they want, they are more likely to break the window and take it," said Boxmeyer.

Deputy Boxmeyer says another way thieves can get a hold of your belongings, is if you try to hide them around your vehicle.

"Bad spots to keep your keys, are inside the gas tank cover," said Boxmeyer.

Once they've got those, they have full access to your vehicle. That is just another reason hikers like Klicker say they will continue to keep their valuables close by.