Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park announced today that five arrests were made recently for two separate incidents of relic-hunting in the park.
Fenton E. Terembes, Jr., Jeremy L. Burroughs and Vincent E. Williams were arrested and taken before the U.S. Magistrate in Richmond on April 5 and charged with felony violations of the Archeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA).
On Sunday, March 11, a National Park Service Ranger observed the three Spotsylvania men metal-detecting and digging relics in the Spotsylvania Battlefield. Rangers apprehended the three as they left the park. Their metal-detecting equipment and a significant amount of artifacts were seized. Numerous excavated holes were found on and around park earthworks where the suspects were observed.
Park Rangers, a National Park Service Criminal Investigator, and Spotsylvania County Deputies executed a search warrant at the homes of two of the suspects. A number of items were seized, including a computer.
National Park Service archeologists documented extensive damage to the historical resource in this area as a result of this looting. Much of the historic context has been removed and is not recoverable. Certain details about the tide of battle in this area have been lost forever.
In the second incident, on the afternoon of March 17, a park volunteer reported two individuals metal-detecting in the Hill-Ewell Drive area of Wilderness Battlefield. A Park Ranger responded and apprehended two juveniles who were observed metal detecting and digging in the park. They were issued violation notices and are required to appear before a U.S. Magistrate in Charlottesville.
It is a federal crime to damage archaeological sites on federal lands or to remove artifacts from federal property. Unauthorized metal detecting and artifact collecting are strictly forbidden in the park. Felony ARPA penalties are up to $250,000 and/or two years in jail. For a second offense it is $250,000 and/or five years. Aside from ARPA, there are a number of other federal laws that protect park resources. The National Park Service takes its responsibility to enforce those laws very seriously.
Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park is responsible for nearly 8,000 acres in Caroline, Spotsylvania, and Stafford Counties, as well as the City of Fredericksburg. The park commemorates the Civil War Battle of Fredericksburg, the Chancellorsville Campaign (encompassing the battles of Chancellorsville, Second Fredericksburg, and Salem Church), the Battle of the Wilderness, and the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House.
If anyone has information regarding any resource violations in the park, they should call the ranger office at (540) 899-2698.