Thieves ravage historic mines
Published on February 9th, 2010 | by Admin1
In Tuolumne County, authorities are prosecuting three men charged with using trucks, cutting torches and other heavy equipment to take metal from mine sites and sell for scrap in Stockton and Modesto.
Remote locations and a lack of witnesses initially hampered the Tuolumne County investigation. After hearing a report that the historic Buchanan Mine site was being looted in August 2008, for example, a Stanislaus National Forest patrol captain went to the site only to find that “a historic processing plant had been completely stripped of its contents and portions of the metal building had been removed.”
A rancher and other witnesses who obtained license plate numbers of suspicious vehicles eventually enabled Tuolumne County Sheriff’s detectives to crack the case and document repeated sales of the stolen metal in Stockton.