Kenneth Walter Kirby, Moab, has been found guilty in U.S. District Court of a misdemeanor violation of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, six months after he was caught digging in dry caves near Moab.
U.S. District Judge David K. Winder set sentencing for 8 a.m. on Sept. 3. The jury rejected a charge of depredation on government property.Kirby also could have been convicted on a felony count of violating the resources protection act, if the damage were greater than $100. But the jury rejected that also.
A state wildlife conservation officer notices Kirby Feb. 8 in a shelter cave in a side canyon near the Colorado River, close to the Potash Road. He was digging in the cave, and an investigation found footprints matching his in another nearby cave where illegal digging had also taken place.
Both caves were archaeologically valuable, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Bruce C. Lubeck. The Anasazi Indians, whose culture collapsed around the 1300 A.D., frequently used such caves as storage areas and sometimes as sites for their homes.