PHOENIX (CN) - A man who scratched his name into a rock-art site along the Colorado River near the Grand Canyon will serve five years of probation and pay $10,000 in restitution for defacing an archeological site that has been around for millennia.
North Carolina resident Trenton Austin Ganey pleaded guilty in December to the felony charge. Prosecutors say he etched "TRENT" into a well-known rock-art site below Glen Canyon Dam last summer while on a guided fishing trip on the Colorado River. Park rangers discovered the vandalism a short time later, and Ganey admitted what he had done.
Rock art, known as petroglyphs, is common in the Colorado River region and the Grand Canyon, where the soft sandstone walls hold symbols and pictures carved by the ancient tribes that once inhabited the vast landscape. The so-called "descending sheep panel" that Ganey defaced is somewhere between 1,000 and 8,000 years old, an archeological assessment of the damage concluded.
"This defendant thoughtlessly defaced a work of art that is over 1,000 years old and holds immense cultural significance," U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said in a statement. "This prosecution should serve as a lesson to others who would damage, destroy or disturb Arizona's precious cultural resources. This office will diligently investigate and fully prosecute these crimes for the benefit of generations to come and for the Native people of Arizona who trace their ancestry back to those who created these cultural treasures."
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake sentenced the 29-year-old Ganey on Monday to 60 months of supervised probation, $10,000 restitution and 100 hours of community service.