Jump to content
Nugget Shooter Forums
GeoJack

Mineral Tresspass

Recommended Posts

Does anyone have any experience with this? I've seen signs of people on my claim using sniping tools (forgot one) and wondered how the court system handles this type of complaint. California claim but would you file in state or federal court?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Through the sheriff, I think. You probably have to catch them in the act. And then, what will the damages be? Myself, I'd catch them in the act with a large sidearm on my side and my claim papers and tell them in no uncertain terms, to leave and don't return. I've done it before and they are gone quick! In most cases, they have to go right past my claim signs so no excuse.....

I would never threaten them with the firearm.... just there for mental persuasion.

I also told them if they were not gone, I would have the sheriff confiscate their equipment.

Edited by LipCa
  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Of course, you need to find out why they are there.... Maybe they got permission from someone and you were not told.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got a game camera out and have been watching, posted Federal Mining Claim signs on all major trails on the claim with corner markers and some ribbon in trees to mark the boundaries so no excuses. I'll check with the SO and see how they handle these calls. Thanks.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If you're able to catch someone in the act, try to take a video in which they're clearly identifiable, and pan the camera around enough to establish location.  The more evidence you have, the better your chances of convincing a sheriff to take action.  There's always the possibility of kicking the case up from trespass to misdemeanor or felony theft if the officer finds them with gold in their pockets.

You might be able to search online for court cases in your jurisdiction to see how your local judges handle mineral trespass.   

  • Like 4

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good luck with getting the sheriff to do anything....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

How in the world could one go out for a relaxing day of prospecting while at the same time having to look over your shoulders for the legal owners...not to mention possibly being caught on camera :idunno:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Penal Code - PEN

PART 1. OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS [25 - 680]

  ( Part 1 enacted 1872. )
  

TITLE 13. OF CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY [450 - 593g]

  ( Title 13 enacted 1872. )
  
 
CHAPTER 5. Larceny [484 - 502.9]
  ( Chapter 5 enacted 1872. )

  
487d.  

Every person who feloniously steals, takes, and carries away, or attempts to take, steal, and carry from any mining claim, tunnel, sluice, undercurrent, riffle box, or sulfurate machine, another’s gold dust, amalgam, or quicksilver is guilty of grand theft and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Allen, source?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry about that, pasted the post then had to run.  The source is:  http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/codes.xhtml

That site keeps very current information concerning the California Penal Code.  Also, if you do end up having to contact the local sheriff's office to file a complaint it is always nice to be able to tell them what code is being broken.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent, thanks. New post signs going up on the claim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent, thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, middleforkminer2 said:

Good luck with getting the sheriff to do anything....

I tend to agree. While I sympathize with your predicament, this is probably a common  problem in your county. I just have to think the sheriff has more important things to do. Even if you catch someone in the act, you don't know who you're dealing with. Could be hippies, dopeheads, methheads or worse....

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

GeoJack--Have many times found evidence of people doing mineral trespass on my claim. I have never contacted the sheriff, but I know those who had, and the sheriff's office would not do anything, something about it being a civil matter and not criminal.  My impression is that the law ends at the end of the paved road, and once you're in the trails, short of a capital offense such as murder, the sheriff's or law enforcement  office won't do anything.  The best you can do is catch them in the act, threaten them with felony mineral trespass, and perhaps they will move to someone else's claim. 

IMO, a game camera would be inconclusive.  For me I have a 40 acre claim, and that is a lot of land.  For me to get good pics, I'd need about a hundred game cams; I think I'd actually need hundreds.  I could of course put five on the likely parking spots, but after I got license plate pics, those guys would be nothing more than give an acceptable excuse in the eyes of the law for him to be in the area like a fisherman, never mind there's no creeks within miles of me.  Fishing, hunting, camping is allowed and is just to easy of an excuse that would put the onus on you to disprove.

So if recoverable minerals on your claim are limited to a very short area, say 100 feet, I think you could get game cams and prove, otherwise there's nothing you can really do that is economically feasible.

I don't know which forum, but one post said he caught the same guy high grading many times on his claim, and the sheriff's deputy came out while the guy was in the act.  The deputy simply had the perpetrator move on.

I really feel you are placing your trust in your fellow man every time we're out there, because there is no law to protect us, only the civility and decency of the human beings you run into out there.

 

Edited by chrisski
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the context of the mid-1800s precious metal mining was near the top of the favored and popular economic activity charts.  Laws accordingly were vigorously enacted and enforced as was vigilante justice.  Today in 21st century California precious metals mining is mostly viewed with sneering contempt by the current herd of progressive political animals and their bureaucratic underlings.  Sure, the laws are still in the books but the zeal for enforcing them???  Just my jaundiced viewpoint...

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You need to catch them in the act with proof they possess gold from your claim and then you have to be willing to press charges. If you have less than positive identification and proof or you are unwilling to pursue charges you are just wasting the Sheriff's time.

Theft is theft. Mineral trespass is indeed a civil matter.

Sheriffs have a positive duty to the public to pursue known thieves. They have no duty to enforce your mineral claim rights.

I'll just leave this here for the doubters.

Two charged with grand theft at Foresthill site after vial of gold discovered

  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Wow with all the stress this is causing you-IMO I would let the claims go-not worth having a heart attack over -its just gold:th:Mike C...:200:

Edited by Mike C...
  • Like 2
  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A guy I know got run off his own claim at gunpoint.... The sheriff told him that it was legal for him to go back to him claim armed!!! that was it.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, clay said:

You need to catch them in the act with proof they possess gold from your claim and then you have to be willing to press charges. If you have less than positive identification and proof or you are unwilling to pursue charges you are just wasting the Sheriff's time.

Theft is theft. Mineral trespass is indeed a civil matter.

Sheriffs have a positive duty to the public to pursue known thieves. They have no duty to enforce your mineral claim rights.

I'll just leave this here for the doubters.

Two charged with grand theft at Foresthill site after vial of gold discovered

At least in the last five years a sheriff's department has prosecuted a case.  This comes after a tunnel had forced entry.  A definite risk and property destruction.  I don't think that the Maricopa Country Sherriff's office has an interest in chasing off claim jumpers when the claim is seven miles off the paved road.

9 minutes ago, LipCa said:

A guy I know got run off his own claim at gunpoint.... The sheriff told him that it was legal for him to go back to him claim armed!!! that was it.

Not saying its not risky, but going into a situation armed against someone who has already pulled a weapon has potential of going south quick.  I'm sure going to the claim armed is perfectly legal, but having to use the gun to evict trespassers is risky.  Even if in the right, any shooting would probably result in a law suit and time lost in legal trouble.  A similar scenario I read on a forum was someone buying a claim and introducing himself to his claim neighbors and getting chased off because the claim he bought was not valid and the correct owner did not appreciate him on the claim.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more interested in informing people who frequent the area to the fact that there are laws preventing them from taking minerals. I don't want confrontations, just knowledge.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just about anyone who hunts for gold knows all about the laws regarding claims and mineral rights. No offense but most likely they just don't care. I wish you luck.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After looking at the laws myself I'm not so sure most know that it is Grand Larceny to pick up ANY amount of mineral from an active claim in California. I certainly didn't. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
23 hours ago, GeoJack said:

After looking at the laws myself I'm not so sure most know that it is Grand Larceny to pick up ANY amount of mineral from an active claim in California. I certainly didn't. 

I think you misunderstood what you read GeoJack. There is no such crime as "Grand Larceny" in California. If a larceny (property theft) exceeds $950 in value it is the crime of Grand Theft. There are exceptions to the $950 rule but those involve fruit, vegetables, livestock, fish product, guns, autos and robbery of a person etc.

Here's the California criminal laws governing theft of minerals I have found:
 

Quote

 

2017 California Code
Penal Code
PART 1 - OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
TITLE 13 - OF CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
CHAPTER 5 - Larceny
Section 486.

Theft is divided into two degrees, the first of which is termed grand theft; the second, petty theft.

 

 

Quote

 

2017 California Code
Penal Code
PART 1 - OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
TITLE 13 - OF CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
CHAPTER 5 - Larceny
Section 487

Grand theft is theft committed in any of the following cases:

(a) When the money, labor, or real or personal property taken is of a value exceeding nine hundred fifty dollars ($950), except as provided in subdivision (b).

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), grand theft is committed in any of the following cases:

(1) (A) When domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops are taken of a value exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(B) For the purposes of establishing that the value of domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops under this paragraph exceeds two hundred fifty dollars ($250), that value may be shown by the presentation of credible evidence which establishes that on the day of the theft domestic fowls, avocados, olives, citrus or deciduous fruits, other fruits, vegetables, nuts, artichokes, or other farm crops of the same variety and weight exceeded two hundred fifty dollars ($250) in wholesale value.

(2) When fish, shellfish, mollusks, crustaceans, kelp, algae, or other aquacultural products are taken from a commercial or research operation which is producing that product, of a value exceeding two hundred fifty dollars ($250).

(3) Where the money, labor, or real or personal property is taken by a servant, agent, or employee from his or her principal or employer and aggregates nine hundred fifty dollars ($950) or more in any 12 consecutive month period.

(c) When the property is taken from the person of another.

(d) When the property taken is any of the following:

(1) An automobile.

(2) A firearm.

 

Section 487(d) appears to be distinct from the exceptions to the $950 threshold in 487(b).

Quote

 

2017 California Code
Penal Code
PART 1 - OF CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
TITLE 13 - OF CRIMES AGAINST PROPERTY
CHAPTER 5 - Larceny
Section 487d.

Every person who feloniously steals, takes, and carries away, or attempts to take, steal, and carry from any mining claim, tunnel, sluice, undercurrent, riffle box, or sulfurate machine, anothers gold dust, amalgam, or quicksilver is guilty of grand theft and is punishable by imprisonment pursuant to subdivision (h) of Section 1170.

 

From that I get that mineral grand theft is a crime punishable by imprisonment. I'm not seeing grand larceny or the concept that thefts of minerals worth less than $950 are Grand Theft. Thefts of less than $950 are a petty crime - still a crime but not big jail or fines.

If you have other sources or input on California mineral law I'm eager to be educated. The California laws are complex and sometimes obscure but I've learned that if you see the law as a totality and not little snippets the meaning can be very different from what those snippets seem to imply.

I may be wrong but I'd hate to see claim owners thinking that any minerals take from their claims amount to Grand Larceny. Thinking that way could lead to even more Sheriffs shaking their heads and wondering where miners get these ideas. The Sheriff should be the miners best friend but when they get called out for campers taking a few pretty rocks they tend to become inclined to treat mining claim problems as a nuisance rather than a matter of serious concern. That's just human nature.

If you can prove a particular person or persons have taken valuable minerals from your claim by all means pursue a complaint and help the authorities to prosecute the thieves. Better yet is to summon the Sheriff when the thieves are still in the act.

Anything less than that is really just a civil matter. A simple report of suspected criminal activity to the Sheriff at their office is enough to get a record started for your civil case and inform the Sheriff there is a problem they should be aware of. Calling the Sheriff to visit you at the site without a thief and proof in hand will just PO the Sheriff and waste their time. That could very well negatively influence the Sheriff's response the next time they get a call from a mining claim owner.

 

Edited by clay
  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Sheriff will and has responded to a couple of my calls on mineral trespass in a very remote and difficult to reach claim.  On the one they plead and was over with a minor fine.  The other went to court and it took two years before winning our case thus perfecting the claim also.  It is both state and federal laws being broken. 

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, lotsa luck said:

The Sheriff will and has responded to a couple of my calls on mineral trespass in a very remote and difficult to reach claim.  On the one they plead and was over with a minor fine.  The other went to court and it took two years before winning our case thus perfecting the claim also.  It is both state and federal laws being broken. 

Thanks for the first hand info.

I'm curious, what federal law was broken?

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×