13 June 2011
By Debi Metcalfe, founder of Stolen Horse International
1. Of course, I look familiar. I was here just last week putting up your fence, painting your barn, or delivering your feed.
2. Love the fancy yard work around the ranch. That tells me you have money. Money means there are nice saddles and tack inside.
3. Yes, I really do look for newspapers piled up on the driveway and mail in the mailbox. And I might leave a note on your front door to see how long it takes you to remove it. Of course, everything on the note is a lie but you won’t check it out. You never do.
4. If it snows while you're out of town, get someone to drive their car up the driveway, make some tracks. I really don’t like big dog tracks either. If there are no tracks I guess you are not home.
5. For those of you with fancy alarm systems in the barn, if you have glass in your doors and windows, I love it when you let the alarm company install the control pad where I can see if it is set to alarm.
6. Don’t get me wrong because I'm not complaining, but why would you pay all that money for a fancy alarm system and leave your house without setting it?
7. I know it gets hot for some of you and you have to have those portable air conditioning units installed in your barn office. It doesn’t take me long to pull it out of the window and climb right in. If you have your camera surveillance equipment in the office I just take it with me on my way out.
8. I love it when you hang the keys to the truck and trailer in the barn. I might as well use your equipment to steal your stuff. I make more money that way. And I like it when you leave your truck hooked up to your trailer even if you don’t leave the keys. I know how to start the truck without the keys. I’m good at it too.
9. It is a good idea to put motion lights up around your barn. And I don’t like animals that make a lot of noise and draw attention to me when I am working.
10. Like the United States Post Office, I work in rain, sleet and snow.
11. I stop by your place first to ask about boarding services or to see if you give riding lessons. Check me out before you let me board in your barn or work on your farm. When I am on your farm do you really think I don’t check out your tack room and the horses in the barn? And I love trusting people who don’t lock their tack rooms.
12. I rarely go to a farm with a sign by the road that says the property is under surveillance and the horses have identification. I am not stupid. I don’t want to get caught. I figure you’re not so stupid either.
13. I am not really picky at times and will take anything I can sell. If it's not tied down, I'll put it in the truck. Heck, if I have my tools I can remove hinges and cut holes out of tack room doors. I have lots of room in my trailer for 4-wheelers and tractors too.
14. And how about that hay, I can use that too.
15. I find your big wheelbarrow very helpful in my profession. Make sure to leave it where I can grab it easily. I promise I will leave it for you…somewhere.
16. I don’t have time to watch all of my “marks” to see when they come or go. So, if you leave it may be a good idea to buy a timing device for your lights and television.
17. I never want to look like a thief. I may stop by with my children and pet your pretty horses while I take their picture. You may even come out and tell me all about how wonderful they are and how much they are worth. Thank you!
18. I will be clean-shaven and have on clean clothes and will be very friendly. I may even be a woman.
19. Neighbors are not as nosey as you think they are. They may see me loading your horse but when I throw up my hand and smile at them they think I am okay and go back to their own busy life, clueless that I am stealing your horse.
20. I love those irritating hang-up calls from telemarketing companies. When we start calling to check out when you are home you think we are one of them. Guess what, we’re not.
21. I do drive around on the backcountry roads looking for places to hit next. What else do I have to do? This is my job.
22. My easiest targets have horses in pastures by the road. Even if they are not easy to get to I am cunning enough to figure out another way to get on your property. I love the woods around a farm. I don’t know why you think that you are safe because there is no road access. I can walk for miles. I am in shape.
23. And oh how I love the Internet! It is online shopping for me. I see what I want and I go get it. And make sure you announce when you are going on vacation or to a show on your facebook page or your website. About that website…thank you for giving me your name, address, phone number and pictures of your place.
24. I love Google! It’s one of my favorite tools of the trade. I can find out almost anything I need about you, your farm, your horses and even if you show horses. Don’t you just love those sites that give all your winning details? I use Google maps to find you and even zoom in on your farm. I can get your street address off of your mailbox. Sometimes I don’t even have to stake it out before I show up. Could it get any easier?
25. If I’m not sure if you’re home I knock on the door or give a holler for you ‘round the barn. I may holler several times. If you don’t answer it is time for me to go to work. It ain’t the Avon lady calling darling!