Bandelier thief sentenced

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In July 2009, law enforcement rangers at Bandelier National Monument, acting on an anonymous tip, initiated an investigation into the illegal collection of natural and cultural resources from National Park Service (NPS) lands. 

Based on that initial investigation a suspect, William Smith Sr., was identified and was alleged to have stolen property from multiple National Parks, including Bandelier National Monument, Yellowstone National Park, Petrified Forest National Park, and Richmond National Battlefield Park.  

Due to the multi-state reach of the investigation, as well as the need for more investigative resources, Bandelier National Monument Chief Ranger Tom Betts requested the assistance of the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) of the National Park Service, and a joint investigation was launched.

On Sept. 2, 2009, a federal search warrant was served at the suspect’s residence in Montpelier, VA. NPS Special Agent, Chris Smith and Bandelier patrol ranger Matt Wallat led the investigative team.

They were assisted by rangers from Richmond National Battlefield Park and Colonial National Historical Park as well as Bandelier Archaeologist, Rory Gauthier and other special agents from the NPS, ISB and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  

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