Thursday, December 8, 2022


Tow vehicle vanished from busy campground


Dear RV Shrink:rvshrink
I learned a lot last week reading various readers’ comments to your column on securing the “toad.” You might also want to mention tow vehicles. We had our pickup stolen right out of a busy campground – locked up, no key inside, never found.

I never gave it a thought before it happened to me. Now I use a kill switch and a wheel lock. My wife thinks I am a bit paranoid about the whole issue. We were made whole by the insurance company, but you never recover the time, effort and mental strain of being targeted by thieves and having to replace a vehicle. The experience can really put a damper on your travel experience. —Ripped off in Rochester

Dear Ripped:
Your experience is not uncommon. We were camped one time at Big Bend National Park, where we met a couple with a beautiful 5th wheel and a newer Ford dually all decked out for towing. They had found a great deal on the truck with extremely low miles. We got their email address so that we could keep in touch.

Unfortunately, the first email we received reported they had their truck stolen a couple days later in a San Antonio city parking area. Ford pickups are among the most frequently stolen vehicles in the U.S., but any vehicle can be a target. Manufacturers are adding techy devices to make it harder to accomplish, but an accomplished thief is hard to deter.

I personally do not put any trust in electronic security devices. I have had tow truck drivers open my vehicle without getting out of their cab. If they have some type of scanning device that opens vehicles you can bet the bad guys have them too.

Like I said last week, if you read the comments after this column you will get some varied and great advice from people who have given a lot of thought to holding on to what they have. The National Parks actually have a lot of crime. The bad guys know that people are traveling and often have their guard down. Common sense and staying alert can save a lot of grief. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

Can’t get enough of the Shrink? Read his e-book: Dr. R.V. Shrink: Everything you ever wanted to know about the RV Lifestyle but were afraid to ask or check out his other e-books.




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Tommy Molnar
4 years ago

Interesting comment about tow truck drivers opening the vehicle without even getting out of their truck. This is scary stuff. I’ve seen them use the “slim jim” kits (which YOU can buy anywhere!), but not a remote opener.

I just bought a 2016 Ford pickup. Seems to have all the bells and whistles (at least compared to my old 97 Ford!). Now I’m wondering if I should just keep the old 97 and feel safer. Nah, I’ve actually become attached to my new-to-me truck. Maybe I’ll just put a motion detector on the roof of the pickup when we go to bed, and hope I remember to take it off when we want to drive somewhere – ha.