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>From the Rapid City Journal:
Fossil snatcher sentenced
RAPID CITY -- A Rapid City man was sentenced in federal court on Monday for
removing a fossil from U.S. Forest Service land.
According to a Forest Service news release, U.S. District Judge Karen E.
Schreier placed Brian Everton on probation for one year for one misdemeanor
of removing a fossilized jawbone from the Indian Creek area of Buffalo Gap
National Grassland and one count of damaging the fossil. The jawbone was from a
brontothere, a large rhinocerous-like animal that lived about 26 million to 34
million years ago. The jawbone that Everton removed and damaged was described
as "museum quality" by a Forest Service paleontologist.
Schreier also ordered Everton to pay a $300 fine along with $50 to a victims'
relief fund, $800 in restitution to the U.S. Forest Service and to perform 40
hours of community service under the supervision of the U.S. Department of
According to a Forest Service news release, a Forest Service employee saw
Everton removing the fossil jaw from the Indian Creek area on Feb. 5, 2002.
The employee warned Everton that what he was doing was illegal. Everton
ignored the warning and left with the fossil.
Forest Service law enforcement officers recovered the fossil from Everton's
home the next day along with undeveloped film that showed the undamaged fossil.
When recovered, the jaw had sustained considerable damage, officers said.
The Forest Service reminds anyone who finds a vertebrate fossil on national
grasslands or forest land to report the find to the nearest Forest Service
office. It is illegal to collect such fossils.
To ensure that the fossils can be found again, marking the site on a detailed
map or recording the GPS coordinates is helpful and will ensure that the
specimen can be collected before it is destroyed by weathering or by being