Fictional Company Makes Access to Cool Stuff (and Parking) Easy!

Ransom Riggs

So this is pretty genius. Back in the 80s, a gentleman from San Francisco discovered that by camouflaging his van as a work vehicle, he could park in loading zones, deter thieves, and gain access to all sorts of cool places to explore and photograph that he probably wouldn't be allowed into otherwise. The "company" that his van (and later his SUV) were supposedly a fleet vehicle for was called Telstar Logistics, and to complete the illusion, he accessorized the SUV with "yellow stripes on the tailgate, a cryptic vehicle number on the sides, and a police-style spotlight," then later added "a logo from a defunct 1950s-era nuclear energy mutual fund." As his corporate alter-ego grew, he "ordered hundreds of smaller Telstar Logistics stickers, and bought some custom-embroidered Telstar Logistics t-shirts for myself and a few friends. I started to give away Telstar Logistics pens as holiday gifts." More shots of his vehicles are here.

So what did all this corporate camouflage get him besides some nifty pens and ticket-free parking? Well, ever since I did a photo blog on the Mojave Spaceport airplane graveyard earlier this year, people have been writing to ask me how I got inside. The short answer is that I knew someone who did me a favor and the place is locked down like Fort Knox and no you can't go in too, but companies with business at the Spaceport are allowed inside -- companies like Telstar Logistics! (Here are photos they took.) Telstar's "photo survey unit" has also gotten access to the top of the Golden Gate bridge and several abandoned Cold War-era military bases around the Bay Area.

So now that his decades-long subterfuge has been exposed (by him), what do you think -- should he be locked up forever as a law-flouting urban terrorist or celebrated as an explorer-photographer who came up with a harmless creative solution to his access problems?