Thursday, May 03, 2012

TCB cars

It was suggested to me a while back that some of my articles and postings should have disclaimers. Okay, if you insist.

Disclaimer: No Asians were harmed during the writing of this post.

I’ve got a little bit of experience of using TCB cars from my younger years and thought I’d pass on some tips that I feel helped to keep me from ever getting busted. Granted, times change, especially with GPS, but I’d like to think these pointers kept me from ever getting arrested for about 10 years of living wild.
By the way, they need a warrant to put GPS on you. They can tail you just because.
Some of this stuff is so obvious that it doesn’t really need to even be said but you’d be surprised at the idiots that overlook them and end up getting nailed.
One thing I need to say is don’t use a stolen car. You have something to accomplish and you don’t need the authorities looking for you before you even get started. Besides, it's not nice to steal.

Your Taking Care of Business car should be completely unremarkable. It needs to not be noticed for obvious reasons - you’re taking care of business and you don’t want people to remember you being in the area. Something 4 or 5 years old, in good mechanical shape with a clean body and good paint and no cracks in the windshield. No bumper or window stickers (says the man with a F*ck Obama sticker on his tailgate) and for God’s sake, no personalized license plates. No loud exhaust. If you require a pickup, a truck that’s commonly used as fleet vehicles would be perfect, like a white Ford Ranger or F-150. You definitely want to stay away from lifted trucks or lowered cars. Keep your music low enough to where it doesn’t attract attention. Blend in. Don’t be noticed and don’t get pulled over getting there.

Obviously, it helps to match the vehicle to the environment - A pickup with a load of hay in the back might look perfectly normal in Denair California but it’s gonna draw attention in Manhattan.

Before leaving for whatever you may be doing, do a walk-around and look for anything that doesn’t look right. Make sure you have both license plates and they’re securely fastened. Look for small punctures in your tail lights, mud on the back of the car, anything that might make it stand out to somebody that’s tailing you.

Make sure you are completely legal. Make sure you have your license, registration and proof of insurance up to date. Check every one of your vehicles’ lights - turn signals, brakes, headlights, backup and most importantly the license plate light. Check your tires - make sure they’re in good shape not only to keep you from getting pulled over for bald tires but because you might have to put them to hard use if things don’t go according to plan.

Leave your regular cell phone at home. Buy a cheap pre-paid phone for your trip. Don’t program any numbers into it in case you have to get rid of it.

Make sure you have a full tank of gas. Never start anything with less than a full tank of gas. Every gas station in the country has security cameras and you’re trying to stay unnoticed and as untraceable as you possibly can. If you’re traveling and need to refuel, hit the stations right off the interstate where they see thousands of people every day and pay cash. Never use a debit card when taking care of business. It’s hard to say later on that you weren’t there when they have your financial information in front of them saying you were along with a picture of you using your debit card.

Plan your route and stops with a couple of alternate routes. If it’s local, drive it (using a different car) at about the same time that your plan calls for and check it out. Look for one way streets, cul-de-sacs and parking lots. Go to Google Earth and look at the overall view. Check the local paper and see if there’s any road construction scheduled.

If transporting large items do your load-out under cover or in a garage. I think that with the recent developments with drones overflying our Nation nowadays, it would be prudent to do it under trees if possible even when behind fences if your doing it outside. Be aware of buildings surrounding you that might have a surveillance team or even an innocent onlooker that’ll report you to the police for suspicious activities. Do a quick check under your car for anything out of the ordinary like little black boxes. Be especially careful along your frame, under your wheel wells, bumpers and around your spare if it’s under the car, anyplace that’s easily accessible to plant these devices. Recent Supreme Court rulings state that a warrant is needed for that, so if you find one you’ve already got major problems. Cancel the job.

Before getting underway, check the inside of your vehicle, making sure that anything that shouldn’t be seen can’t be seen. Keep all weapons out of sight, even in a state where it’s legal to do so. If traveling any distance, make sure you have enough food and water to last until your next fuel stop. Stay away from diuretics such as coffee and soda - you want to keep your stops down to fuel stops only.

It goes without saying that if at all possible, there should be two people in the car. The extra eyes come in handy, especially when you’re in unfamiliar territory. Just make sure he knows he's not there because you enjoy his company.

Once you get started, just use common sense and obey all the traffic laws - signal when changing lanes, don’t blow through red lights, make sure you come to a complete stop at stop signs, stuff like that. Be courteous, yield the right of way and do not get into any pissing contests with another driver over anything. Don’t drive any faster than 5 mph over the posted or suggested speed limit. Turn your headlights on and stay off the cell phone you were supposed to leave behind. Slow down for chickens crossing the road instead of turning them into a cloud of feathers. Do not consume any alcohol or drugs at all from start to finish. The victory drink comes after your safe return home.

Stay alert to your surroundings at all times. Always keep a running tab on vehicles and their occupants around you. It’s not that hard with a little practice and even after 20 years of being good I still find myself doing it. Your assistant driver should be doing the same thing and communicating with you. Watch for cars that are hanging way back, cars that disappear and reappear after extended periods of time and realize that the Law will not have just one or two cars tailing you, they’ll have a whole series of them. They’ll be drifting alongside of you, ahead of you, and way back, working in twos or threes. Remember that tail light that you were supposed to check for small punctures? It’ll stand out like a sore thumb hundreds of yards away at night every time you tap your brakes. That’s why it was put there.

Assuming you don’t think you’ve picked up a tail en route, it seems like you should just proceed normally to your drop, right? No. Before you get close to your drop, turn into a shallow residential cul-de-sac that you should’ve located via Google Earth or city map. As you turn in, have your assistant driver keep a close eye on the road behind you and watch what vehicles go past. If one turns in behind you, get out of the vehicle, go up and knock on a door and give the homeowner a line of bull, apologize and leave. If whoever followed you into the cul-de-sac hasn’t gone into a house, assume at that point you’ve been burned.
If nobody follows you in, check the vehicles in driveways or on the street and compare them to ones that drove past the cul-de-sac. Use common sense and your best judgment.
Use anyplace that you have to be followed into to your advantage - parking lots especially, the smaller the better.

Once you’ve accomplished what you set out to do, there’s a natural tendency to relax. Stay vigilant, fuel your vehicle if needed and go home, keeping an eye out for the ever-threatening tail. You don’t have to actually be caught doing something for a conspiracy charge and if you’re seen coming or going to the event it’s going to be hard to argue you had nothing to do with it.

As far losing a tail, you’re going to have to find that out from somebody else. I’ve never had to put my contingency plans to use so I can’t give you first hand reports on their effectiveness.

Okay, it's my hope that you (or me) never have to put this to use but it never hurts to learn something new every now and again.


Brock Townsend said...

Well said and posted.

Erinyes said...

And for god's sake don't gas any OWS hippies while waiting for the light to change!

timbo said...

Erinyes - For some strange reason, I think that might be Mr. Lanes hardest item to stay disciplined over!

Anonymous said...

When doing your 'preflight' check use a black light in a dark garage to see if UV paint has been put on your vehicle. Stuff stands out like crazy when hit by FLIR lamps on choppers or drones.
I've a creeper in my garage so I can inspect under my vehicle in relative comfort.

Craig Cavanaugh said...

Excellent post.

wirecutter said...

Anon, Thank you. That's something I didn't consider. Like I said, I've been good for quite a while now and a little out of touch.