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Vandalism to rock art panal in Washington County that occuered in May 2005. Five St. George teenagers have been sentence for crime.
Photos Courtesy of BLM
CEDAR CITY - Five teenagers have been sentenced after admitting they vandalized a rock panel of petroglyph art northwest of St. George.
A restitution hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26 to determine how to pay for repairing the damage estimated at $7,500.
The teenagers, two boys ages 16 and 17 and three 15-year-old girls, were charged Aug. 8 under Utah's Cultural Sites Protection Act with third-degree felony vandalism for scratching names and obscenities into the Land Hill petroglyph site May 16.
Some of the petroglyphs are estimated to be 5,000 years old.
In December, two of the suspects admitted vandalizing the site. The remaining unidentified teenagers admitted to their crimes Jan 18.
They were sentenced by 5th District Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Higbee in St. George the day they entered their pleas.
Four of the five were ordered to perform 188 hours of community service and spend 30 days in the Washington County youth detention facility.
The fifth vandal, one of the girls, was allowed to forgo community service by paying a $750 fine, but must serve the 30-day sentence.
Angela Adams, the deputy Washington County attorney who prosecuted the case, said Tuesday the vandals will probably spend four weekends in detention before being put on probation.
Adams said all the teenagers were contrite during their court hearings where Higbee admonished them for messing up the rock art that had gone unscathed for thousands of years.
Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Ann Stansworth said investigators were led to the teenagers after receiving tips from the public.
The Land Hill area is part of the 6,500-acre Santa Clara Reserve that is collaboratively managed by the BLM, Santa Clara City and the city of Ivins.
Julie Howard, a BLM archaeologist, said Tuesday at least $7,500 will be needed to cover up the damage. And that's conservative, she said.
Because the vandalism gouged into the rock, Howard said the damage cannot be permanently fixed, but cosmetic treatments using paint can disguise the damage.
Howard said the damage will have to be touched up about every 10 to 20 years because weathering wears away the paint.
Getting the damage covered up soon is important, said Howard.
If someone sees a name [scratched] on a site, they think it is OK to add another, she said.