MONROE MAN SENTENCED TO PROBATION FOR REMOVING ARTIFACT FROM PROTECTED HISTORIC SITE
RICHARD V. ANDERSON, 59, of Monroe, Washington was sentenced to 1 year of probation, 50 hours of community service, a $1,500 fine and $1,568 in restitution for the misdemeanor offense of Injury to Government Property. In sentencing ANDERSON, U.S. District Court Magistrate John C. Weinberg noted that criminal prosecution is an effective way of sending the message that it is important to protect artifacts at historic sites.
On January 27, 2005 ANDERSON pleaded guilty to removing a 1904 or 1905 Oldsmobile Model T single-cylinder engine belonging to the United States Forest Service (USFS) from the historic town site of Monte Cristo, located in Snohomish County on USFS-owned land. According to the plea agreement, on July 21, 2003, as a member of the Monte Cristo Preservation Association, ANDERSON used a key to the gated site to drive onto the Forest Service property and remove the engine. The Monte Cristo town site is an abandoned mining town dating to 1889. It contains collapsed remains of structures, infrastructure, and industrial installments and artifacts from the 1890-1910 industrial revolutionary period in the region, and is likely eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
According to a USFS archaeologist, the unauthorized and unscientific removal of this historic artifact from the town site caused a significant and irreplaceable loss to the available archaeological record. David A. Cameron of the Monte Cristo Preservation Association wrote to the judge that "... only those tools and pieces of machinery made of iron are readily seen and identified by the thousands of visitors who come each year.... the loss of the engine was irreparable and a blow to our attempts at preserving our heritage."
In court today, ANDERSON told the Judge he deeply regretted everything that had happened. ANDERSON claimed his intent was to preserve the engine. Judge Weinberg acknowledged ANDERSON's contrition but told him he used "incredibly bad judgement to (remove the engine) without going through proper channels."
The case was investigated by the U.S. Forest Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Sarah Vogel. For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney's Office, Western District of Washington at (206) 553-4110.