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Press Release

Nevada Man Sentenced For Destroying Petroglyph At National Monument

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Nevada

LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas resident was sentenced Tuesday by United States District Judge Richard F. Boulware II to six months in prison to be followed by one year of supervised release and $7.303.05 in restitution for damaging a centuries-old petroglyph at Gold Butte National Monument in southeastern Nevada.

Michael Shorter, 44, pleaded guilty in April 2023 to a felony violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA) for the unauthorized damage and removal of an archaeological resource.

According to court documents, on September 15, 2018, at the Mud Wash area of Gold Butte National Monument, Shorter climbed onto a ledge and kicked a petroglyph 15 feet onto the ground below, causing the petroglyph to be partially damaged. The petroglyph was created approximately 700 to 1500 years ago. This site is important to people of the Moapa Band of Paiutes, Southern Paiute tribes more broadly, and other indigenous people of the region.

The petroglyph, which was part of a larger panel of petroglyphs, was broken into multiple pieces. Shorter transported the broken petroglyph away from the Gold Butte National Monument to his home where it was displayed in a garden before being destroyed.

This case was investigated by the Bureau of Land Management.

United States Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada and State Director Jon Raby for the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada made the announcement.

ARPA prohibits the unauthorized excavation and removal of archaeological resources on federal lands as well as the unlawful sale, purchase, or exchange of such resources.

To report natural resources crimes on Bureau of Land Management-managed public lands, please call Bureau of Land Management’s Law Enforcement Dispatch at (800) 637-9152.



Updated November 16, 2023

Environmental Justice