Stolen Petroglyphs Found in Local Garden

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Three petroglyphs stolen from federal land on Peavine Peak have been recovered from the front yard landscaping of a Reno home.

Authorities said a tip to the Secret Witness hot line led to the recovery of the 800-year-old rock art Tuesday.

"We got the rocks back. They are safe and in our custody at this point," said Dave Loomis, acting chief of the U.S. Forest Service's Carson Ranger District. "These are important parts of our heritage."

Loomis declined to identify the people found in possession of the artifacts until the investigation is completed.

No arrests have been made. Authorities said those responsible could be prosecuted under the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act, which carries potential penalties of two years in prison and $20,000 in fines.

The petroglyphs, chipped onto boulders of up to 300 pounds in weight, apparently were removed by several individuals using hand tools, Loomis said.

Todd Irvine, government affairs coordinator for the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, said he was surprised the items were recovered so quickly and offered the colony's thanks to the tipster.

The tipster could receive the $4,000 reward offered for information leading to recovery of the petroglyphs and the arrest of those responsible for their theft.

"Good news for a change," Irvine told the Reno Gazette-Journal. "The cultural importance is very significant. I don't think you can measure it in terms of money."

The three petroglyphs were stolen from an undisclosed location on federal land in August, officials said.

On Monday, authorities said two petroglyphs were missing - one depicting a man and the other a bow-wielding Indian hunter stalking a bighorn sheep.

A third petroglyph of a hunter that authorities previously had not realized had been stolen also was discovered at the Reno residence Tuesday. It is believed to have come from the same location.