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Looting suspected at Monocacy

March 09, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

FREDERICK, Md. -- The National Park Service said Monday that holes at Monocacy National Battlefield in Frederick last month were dug by looters.

Rangers found the holes on Feb. 15 "while patrolling a section of the park that is inaccessible to visitors," the National Park Service said in a news release.

Travis Baker, a Monocacy park ranger, said in a phone interview that a "few" holes were found, but declined to say how many.

He said the holes can be established as the work of looters because they're in an area where a battle was held.

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The news release says violations of the federal Archeological Resource Protection Act could lead to a jail sentence of up to one year and a fine up to $10,000.

If it costs more than $500 to repair the site, the violation becomes a felony, with a maximum jail sentence of two years and a maximum fine of $200,000.

The National Park Service said it is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the offender(s). The amount of the reward hasn't been set, Baker said.

People with information may call Baker at 301-698-6247, ext. 226.

Antietam National Battlefield hasn't had a problem with people trying to dig for treasure in several years, Superintendent John Howard said Monday.

Posted signs alert the public that treasure hunting there is prohibited, he said.

"It's not a common occurrence anymore," Howard said.

Baker said looting also hasn't been a problem at Monocacy for the last few years.

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