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Manzanar Visitor Helps Deter Looting

INDEPENDENCE — Thanks to a concerned visitor at Manzanar National Historic Site last weekend, law enforcement authorities were able to apprehend an individual using a metal detector and shovel inside the park boundary.

It is a federal crime to dig for artifacts, use a metal detector, or take any items from the ground in Manzanar National Historic Site.

Shortly before 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, a visitor stopped at the front desk and reported seeing an individual with a metal detector. The visitor was able to describe the suspect’s car and give the license plate.

Manzanar rangers called the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, and within minutes a sheriff’s deputy and a California Department of Fish and Wildlife warden arrived and detained the suspect. Law enforcement rangers from Death Valley National Park were called to investigate. The suspect faces possible criminal charges.

Manzanar Superintendent Bernadette Johnson expressed gratitude to the visitor and law enforcement, whose actions helped deter damage to the site and loss of valuable cultural history. “Manzanar staff members take our responsibility to protect historic resources seriously,” she said. “And it is great to see that the public does as well.”

You can help protect National Park Service sites. If you see something suspicious, stay safe and talk to any NPS employee for help, or give the special agents of the NPS Investigative Services Branch a call. It may take time to reach areas with cell or Internet service. You don’t have to say who you are, but just tell what you know:

Call or text the ISB Tip Line, (888) 653-0009;

Go online to and click “Submit a Tip”;


In an emergency, dial 911,

Manzanar is located at 5001 Hwy. 395, six miles south of Independence. For more information, call (760) 878-2194, ext. 3310 or visit Manzanar is also on Facebook at

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