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Sunday, 1 January 2012

Petersburg man pleads guilty to damaging battlefield

RICHMOND - A Petersburg man whose house was searched earlier this year, revealing a potentially explosive Civil War-era artillery shell, has pleaded guilty to federal charges of unlawfully taking Civil War relics from the Petersburg National Battlefield. In U.S. District Court in Richmond, John Jeffrey Santo pleaded guilty on Tuesday to two counts of damaging archaeological resources, each of which carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, and one count of depredation of government property, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000. Santo originally was charged with three counts of damaging archaeological resources and one count each of depredation of government property, theft of government property and unlawful possession of a firearm. He will remain in federal custody while awaiting sentencing at a date to be determined. According to court documents, Santo was accused of illegally excavating Civil War artifacts at the Petersburg park on several occasions between September 2007 and December 2010. On Feb. 10, 2011, federal officials including park rangers searched Santo's home in the 1800 block of Oakland Street in Petersburg. There, according to a court filing, they found "in excess of 9,000 war relics and artifacts including bullets, buckles and assorted ordnance." http://progress-index.com/news/petersburg-man-pleads-guilty-to-damaging-battlefield-1.1242403#ixzz1fwM8qSVr

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