Law enforcement officers with the U.S. Forest Service say they’ve apprehended suspects whom they believe may have vandalized a historic cave in Central Oregon.
The vandalism occurred sometime in late April at the Hidden Forest Cave in the Deschutes National Forest.
Vandals chopped down trees and set a fire inside the cave. They also spray-painted extensively both outside and inside the cave, covering native pictographs.
Jean Nelson-Dean is a spokeswoman for the Deschutes National Forest. She says the story generated both attention and outrage within the community.
“Through that we received some tips that have lead us to apprehend 5 suspects in that damage. Their case has been sent to the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice will consider what kind of charges to take in the matter,” Nelson-Dean said.
Nelson-Declined to provide any additional information about the suspects, citing the ongoing investigation.
The suspects could face misdemeanor or felony charges under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
If convicted, they could face up to ten years in jail and up to $100 thousand in fines.
Oregon High Desert Grotto
May 24: Vandals Mar Cave In Central Oregon