Utah man pleads guilty in Yellowstone treasure-seeking dig
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — On Monday, 52-year-old Rodrick Dow Craythorn of Syracuse, Utah, entered a guilty plea to charges of excavating or trafficking in archeological resources and injury or depredation to U.S. property. Craythorn was indicted by a federal grand jury back in September 2020 after he was found digging in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery, allegedly searching for the famed Forrest Fenn treasure chest.
“The hunt for the Forrest Fenn treasure was often viewed as a harmless diversion, but in this case it led to substantial damage to important public resources,” said U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen. “The Defendant let his quest for discovery override respect for the law.”
His plea was accepted and a sentencing date is set for March 17 in Casper. Craythorn could face up to 12 years in prison and $270,000 in fines.
Prosecutors say the illegal digging caused more than $1,000 in damage between late 2019 and early 2020.
32-year-old Jonathan “Jack” Stuef found the treasure, worth over a million dollars, in June 2020.