This article was originally published in RC Driver’s June 2015 issue.
Well, I hate to be the barer of bad news, but the RC hobby and industry isn’t just birthday parties with pony rides. Sure, the vast majority of my editorials focus on the positive things we encounter in the RC world and values I’d like to instill to our valued readers so you get the best experience possible for the hobby you love. But there are those few people in the world who ruin it for the many. And although it pains me to do so, I’m going to dedicate this space to talking about them in hopes that problems can be prevented.
Over the past few years, social media has boomed. No duh, Greg, I know. We get to see lots of neat stuff on sites like Facebook and Instagram and over the years, I’ve seen some not so good stuff, particularly in our hobby.
Several hobby shops have been broken into and had items stolen. Some shops post the break-in news while others post video feeds from surveillance cameras in hopes of finding the culprits. These infuriating videos have actually helped catch some RC thieves by spreading the word to people who knew them and turned them in. It’s great to hear when crooks are caught, but it doesn’t just end at hobby shops.
In just the past year, I distinctly remember seeing three reports where racers lost gear due to thieves breaking into vehicles or just flat out stealing off of a pit table. Again my blood was boiling and I can’t imagine how the racers felt dedicating so much time and effort, not to mention money, into going to a race only to have their equipment stolen. Stuff that was costly and some that was treasured, like tools they’ve used for years.
Recently I returned from a trip to California where I was visiting some of the industry’s manufacturers. On my trip I found out there has been a rash of break-ins at a number of RC companies. Some companies were hit multiple times. Tools, cars, bodies, engines, and lots of other RC items were taken. Many companies have since bumped up security measures, but thieves always look for a way to cheat the system.
So where I’m going with this editorial discussion is asking readers to keep an eye out. I know our hobby in the grand scheme of things is rather small, but that’s also what makes us so great. Word gets out quickly and we make things happen for the better. So if you see something while you are in the pits take note and report it to the appropriate people. If a buddy leaves his pit and some random person is hanging around his stuff, just be observant in case you need to report it later. I’m not saying to engage anyone because your safety is important first, but if you can help some other way, that is helping enough. And if you’re approached by someone to buy something that you think just isn’t right; again find a way to report it. With thieves stealing product from hobbyists and companies, we could potentially lose people from the hobby, deter new people from trying the hobby and if companies get hit and lose money, they have to pass on their loss in costs to us the hobbyists that are doing the right thing. Be conscious of your surroundings, be safe and enjoy the hobby. Don’t let those few ruin it for the many.