Bureau of Land Management investigators continue to look into the case of the stolen and damaged petroglyphs near Bishop. Two weeks ago, BLM reported that someone had used a power saw, generators and ladders to cut out and take at least four petroglyphs, leaving dozens of others damaged.
Eric Keefer of BLM in Ridgecrest is the lead investigator. We talked to him on Friday. He said he could not comment on the details of the investigation. Keefer did say it is “still active.” He said there are three investigators working on it – himself and two other BLM law enforcement agents from Bishop. He said they are “pursuing information” which he could not share.
Keefer did say that the public has provided numerous tips and calls which have been “very helpful.” BLM is also conducting patrols of the area. Anyone with information is asked to call Keefer at 760-937-0657 or Melody Stehwein at 760-937-0301. BLM and the Bishop Paiute Tribe are offering a $2,000 reward for information leading to the thieves.
Greg Haverstock, BLM Archaeologist, confirmed that the rock art is thousands of years old and part of the current Paiute Tribe’s ceremonial tradition. Haverstock said Europeans documented the rock art prior to 1890 and geological evidence shows them to be thousands of years old.
Haverstock had earlier said, “The location of archaeological materials, feature remains and the rock art clearly portray the activities that occurred at the site during the past 3,500 years.”
The theft and damage of the ancient rock art has been reported around the world.