WFSU News Team
Wed February 27, 2013
State Recovers Stolen Artifacts
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has recovered almost $4- million in ancient artifacts as the result of a covert investigation. The two year probe seems as though it was ripped from the pages of an Indiana Jones script.
It all started when the Florida Wildlife commission received complaints about people ransacking state lands to take their prehistoric Native American relics and sell them to private collectors. And it ended with undercover investigators reclaiming the stolen goods. The state’s Historic Preservation Officer Rob Bendus said the most distressing part about the theft is now experts can’t tell where the artifacts came from.
“So, we’ve lost all context and context is important because how an artifact sits in the ground in relation to other artifacts tells the story of who made the artifact, when they made the artifact, what they were using it for and why they were using it,” Bendus said.
After the two year investigation the State Department has reported 400 felony violations. Bendus hopes the artifacts will eventually contribute to an exhibit highlighting the illegal activity and remind everyone that as Indiana Jones would say- “It belongs in a museum!”