There's something so satisfying about seeing a criminal who brags about their misdeeds on Facebook getting their comeuppance.

Meet the Heritage Thief

A San Marcos man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for illegally excavating a Native American homestead in Amarillo.

The Department of Justice reports that 37-year-old Jeffrey Alan Vance pleaded guilty in February to violating the Archeological Resource Protection Act (ARPA), which strictly prohibits anyone without authorization from removing artifacts from tribal land.

He was sentenced Tuesday, June 29. Plea papers reveal that he admitted to co-conspiring with 33-year-old Dax Wheatley to illegally excavate artifacts from a site called 41PT109. The area was a homestead for the Antelope Creek Culture of Native Americans who lived in the Texas Panhandle between 1200-1500 A.D.

No Respect for the Dead

Taking any artifacts from Native American lands for your own selfish purposes is bad enough, but Vance and Wheatley were guilty of something truly disgusting and beyond disrespectful.

When authorities searched Vance's home in November of 2019, they found human remains and burial beads that had been stolen from the homestead site.

So, not only was he digging around a precious archeological site to loot whatever he and his partner could find, but he was removing people's bones and funeral garments.

That is abhorrent.

The Moron Bragged About It On Facebook

Vance himself inadvertently helped authorities bust him and Wheatley.

The Bureau of Land Management was tipped off by someone who found a Facebook page under the name "Jerry Montopolis". The page was sharing photos of the illegal excavations.

When a commenter warned "Jerry" that he was digging on federal land and could be caught be rangers, the page's owner responded, "I'm not scared of the feds."

As you probably guessed, "Jerry" was Jeffrey Vance, who bragged that he was going to display skeletons he'd excavated in a "secret artifact lair". He also texted several contacts, calling himself an “infamous illegal excavator of Native American artifacts in Texas”. He warned his contacts, “don’t be telling people we are digging on government property!”

Police were able to trace the Facebook page and messages back to Vance and his accomplice.

What About That Accomplice?

Wheatley also pleaded guilty to violating ARPA back in February. He's expected to be sentenced in July.

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