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Geocache closes Pike

The report of a suspicious package closed Kingston Pike in Farragut the morning of July 3, but the package turned out to be a geocache.

Geocaching “is basically a high-tech scavenger hunt that you use a G-P-S with. It’s mostly a family oriented activity.

It gets people out. It’s a way to use technology and old-fashioned treasure hunting skills, I guess,” Jan Walker, former chairperson of the Great Smoky Mountains Geocaching Club, said.

Drew Reeves, spokesperson for Knox County Sheriff’s Office, confirmed the cache was found in a drainage culvert in the 12000 block of Kingston Pike.

“My understanding is that it was in a draining culvert. An L-C-U-B crew saw it in the course of doing some work. They didn’t know what it was, so they called us and halted work, which was the smart thing to do,” he said. “They sent the bomb squad out, because those guys are trained to recognize that stuff … It’s smarter and safer to send the bomb squad; they’re the experts. Once the bomb robot got up to it they knew what it was.”

Reeves said the cache was in an ammunition case, and added, “It wasn’t a hoax. It wasn’t placed as a bomb. It wasn’t called in as a bomb call by a prankster or anything like that.”

The bomb squad “runs into these things from time-to-time, and because of that they try to stay up on the locations [of the caches] in the area,” he said. “That’s not going to stop them from going out and investigating if somebody calls. They are going to go out there, even if it’s in the general area of a known


Walker said the cache that prompted the bomb squad call was one of hers.

“I talked to the head of the bomb squad; he said it was no big deal. When the utility company called it in, they told him it had wires going to it. It was the rope keeping it from going any farther down the ditch it’s in,” she said. “As soon as they got it out they knew it was a geocache because, of course, it had the sticker and everything on it.”

She said ammunition cases are standard caching storage devices.

“A standard geocache would be in an ammunition can or Tupperware of some sort, clearly marked that it is a geocache with contact information in it,” she said. “On the inside there is a sheet of paper that tells all about geocaching, and if somebody found it and doesn’t want it there, to please contact somebody and we’d be happy to remove it.”

Ammunition cases are preferred by some cachers, because, “They are water tight, they’re usually not destructible. The elements don’t get to them. Tupperware tends to wear out after awhile,” she added.

Walker said different people play for different reasons, and the game is popular in this area.

“Some people play it for fun. Some people like to get numbers, see how many they can find. Some people like to find the difficult ones, because it’s a challenge to them. They like to hike ten miles to find one. Some people just like to do it because it gets their kids out of the house and away from their Game Boys,” she said. “Within thirty-five miles of Knoxville, there are over eight hundred caches. So the caches are placed all around. We have good working relationships with Knox County Parks Department, the Public Building Authority, Knox County Sheriff, Knoxville Police. The caches, some of them, have been there for years. There’s a lot in Farragut.”

Reeves said the cache was confiscated, and Walker said has been told she can pick it up at her convenience.


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