I am providing all readers with this important Travel Advisory for the Elliott highway for "snatch and grab thieves". It was my experience last year to have my off-road camp site visited by two different snatch n' grab thieves. Unfortunately, one group was able to take one camping bag full of necessary items. I have learned from this mistake and I want to share my experience.
One group operates only during the early morning hours (5AM to 6:30AM) They probably selected this time as no one would awaken and leave the comfort of their vehicle, trailer or tent to investigate. Their "Method of Operation) is to drive near you camp location and one person exists the vehicle. The driver keeps the engine running. The person on the ground is going to take anything that catches his eye. The stolen items include: fuel cans, food ice chests, cooking stoves and anything not tied down. Within a few minutes, the one person has possession of the items and is returning to the waiting vehicle. On my particular morning, I called-out from my tent and this caused the person to immediately run for his vehicle. I opened the tent door and could only see a vehicle speeding away.
Second group prefers to steal on Sunday between the hours of noon and 2PM. I talked with members of this group and one person boasted to me how they steal. He said between these hours, individuals are usually away from their vehicles and camp sites. They have more time to search the camp site for items. I was face-to-face with these individuals and this is what I remember. They were driving a late model Dodge Dakota black pickup truck with no camper. I could not locate a license plate and believe they remove it before entering the Elliott highway. The young person said they do not have knives or firearms as this would mean a felony conviction if caught.
Suggestions on how to prevent personal loss. Remove all valuable items from outside and secure them. Those items that are left outside, secure them using rope or wire cable. You can use small locks to secure the metal tabs on bags. These methods will slow down the thieves to waste valuable time. Take a visual or written inventory of your outside items and confirm the count the next morning. When a vehicle approaching near your camp site, you have to challenge them. They will assume the camp site is vacant and proceed to steal.
I reported my experience to law enforcement in a written statement. Their response was "they needed more evidence". He continued by saying they have a shortage of manpower and do not travel this road often. Personally, I refuse to stop while driving on the Elliott highway. You be careful out there while enjoying Alaskan outdoors.