Man sentenced in Hidden Cave graffiti case |

Man sentenced in Hidden Cave graffiti case

Steve Puterski
Spray paint covers the generator housing at Hidden Cave. Bureau of Land Management discovered the vandalism on March 2.
Steve Puterski / | LVN

A Fallon man who defaced the historical landmark Hidden Cave north of Grimes Point appeared Tuesday in District Court.

Justin Wayne McGliton received a suspended sentence of 19 to 48 months in prison, although he must pay $12,589.72 in restitution plus an additional $400 fine required by law.

McGliton was also ordered to serve 90 days in the Churchill County Jail, although he was given credit for 31 days. He must complete Drug Court, perform 100 hours of community service, have his license suspended for 6 months and was placed on probation for up to five years.

McGliton’s attorney, Jacob Sommer, said his client was under the influence of alcohol during the crime.

Churchill County Chief Deputy District Attorney Lane Mills condemned the acts stating the site is valued by many including some who view the landmark as a gravesite for their ancestors.

The site, wich is 8 miles east of Fallon, had numerous acts of graffiti, ground was dug up, the kiosk destroyed and one of the suspects urinated in the cave. Volunteers and archaeologists from the BLM spent days in April cleaning up the graffiti left by the vandals.

Because the destruction closed the cave, Donna Cossette, Churchill County Museum director, said in April that about 500 people — mostly school children — were unable to tour the site, which was formed as a result of waves from Lake Lahontan. It remained underwater until about 7,500 years ago, but humans were able to use the area caves 1,200 years later when the water receded.

“Hopefully we are educating the public on how delicate these historical sites are within this area, and it’s sad to see something like this happen. It puts us back and takes a while to restore it,” Cossette told the LVN at the time.

Cossette said the museum and BLM have worked together for 30 years to provide tours to both sites.

William McHaney, Jazzmend Crabtree, Scotti Jenkins, Sean O’Brien and one juvenile were arrested in connection with the vandalism.

Jenkins, O’Brien and McHaney are also each charged with placing graffiti or otherwise defacing a protected site. Crabtree, through, was charged with petty larceny, a misdemeanor.

Jenkins pleaded guilty Jan. 6 and will be sentenced March 24. McHaney also pleaded guilty, while O’Brien was slated for a preliminary hearing but has been continued until March.