PHOENIX (Reuters) - A North Carolina man was sentenced to 60 months probation by a federal judge for scrawling his name on an Arizona carving that is at least 1,000 years-old, U.S. authorities said on Tuesday.
U.S. District Judge Neil Wake also ordered Trenton Ganey, 29, to pay $10,000 in restitution and perform 100 hours of community service.
Ganey was on a guided fishing trip in June 2010, when his group stopped at a beach near a petroglyph called “Descending Sheep Panel” on a canyon wall along the Colorado River. A petroglyph is an inscription or carving.
He took a rock and carved “TRENT” onto the petroglyph.
The petroglyph and similar works of rock art are considered a part of Native American’s cultural heritage in Arizona.
“This prosecution should serve as a lesson to others who would damage, destroy or disturb Arizona’s precious cultural resources,” Dennis Burke, U.S. Attorney in Arizona, said in a statement.
“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,” he said.
Ganey was sentenced on Monday, but his sentence was not announced until Tuesday. He had pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Phoenix last December to the felony charge of damaging an archeological resource.
Ganey was caught when the graffiti was spotted by park rangers, who found his group downstream, prosecutors said.
He quickly admitted to the vandalism and expressed remorse upon learning of the petroglyph’s significance.
The petroglyph is at least 1,000 years-old, according to an assessment prepared by Thann Baker, the archeologist for the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area.
Reporting by David Schwartz; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis