Missouri professor: Theft accusations were misunderstanding
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — A University of Missouri professor says that his now-dropped charges related to the removal of artifacts from a national forest were due to miscommunication.
Professor R. Lee Lyman says he and two other researchers went on 2013 trip to the Umatilla National Forest and Wenaha-Tucannon Wilderness in southeastern Washington for "archaeological reconnaissance."
Lyman claims the U.S Forest Service informed the researchers that they didn't need permits to collect artifacts on federal land.
Once in Missouri, the men reported what they collected and the service demanded that they return the artifacts.
Authorities say the researchers removed more than 93 items from seven sites in violation of the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act.
The Columbia Daily Tribune reports that they were charged this summer with second-degree theft and second-degree malicious mischief before charges were dropped.