A Rocky Mountain treasure hunter has been accused of damaging, removing or altering archaeological resources in Yellowstone National Park.
Rodrick Dow Craythorn, 52, was indicted by a federal grand jury in September after authorities said he was found digging in the historic Fort Yellowstone Cemetery.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming in front of Chief Federal Magistrate Judge Kelly H. Rankin. The court set his trial for Dec. 14 in U.S. District Court in Casper.
The Syracuse, Utah, man faces charges of excavating or trafficking in archaeological resources and injury or depredation to United States property, according to a news release from the office of U.S. Attorney Mark Klaassen.
Officials say he caused damage in the Fort Yellowstone Cemetery between Oct. 1, 2019, and May 24, 2020. Craythorn was reportedly looking for the elusive Forrest Fenn treasure, a chest allegedly containing gold, coins, jewelry and gemstones that Fenn, an art dealer and author from New Mexico, said he had hidden somewhere in the Rocky Mountains and that spurred a decade-long search.
“Treasure hunters used clues from a book Fenn had written to scour the West hoping to find the fortune,” the news release said.
The chest was reportedly found in Wyoming in June 2020. Forrest Fenn passed away several months later.