Thursday, August 6, 2015

Two Tennessee men get prison time for illegal relic hunting on public property

Shiloh National Military Park

Two Tennessee men who pleaded guilty to pilfering Civil War artifacts on public land -- including the Shiloh battlefield -- have been sentenced to 30-month federal prison terms.

Kenneth S. Fagin Jr., 39, of South Pittsburgh, and Terry B. Tate, 61, of Manchester pleaded guilty earlier this year to multiple counts of violating a federal act that protects archaeological resources from those excavating artifacts without a permit.

The men were sentenced on July 30 and also must make restitution of more than $20,000 each, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chattanooga said in a statement issued Wednesday. After prison, they will each serve a one-year term of supervised release.

According to prosecutors, Fagin, Tate and others from 2007 to 2011 excavated artifacts at Fort McCook, also known as Battle Creek, on Tennessee Valley Authority property. Hotchkiss artillery shells were removed, though the men lacked permits, officials said.

Fagin and Tate also excavated Civil War-era U-rails in Bridgeport, Ala., and in 2010 delivered a counterfeit “Sherman bowtie” that was made from the U-rails, prosecutors said. And, in August 2010, Fagin excavated artifacts – including Schenkl artillery shell fragments and six bullets -- from Shiloh National Military Park in Tennessee, federal prosecutors said.

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