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Claimjumpers caught in Placer county


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The sad part is,look at all the people sticking up for these two creeps,

in the comments.

They are nothing more than common thieves and criminals,and deserve

to pay for their crime. If they were just honest guys out for fun,then they

would be finding their own spot instead of looting someones claim.

Criminals and other jerks ,always take advantage of other peoples effort

and hard work. I hope they throw the book at the bastards.

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Below is the comment I tried to post:

Good for the Placer County Sheriff! Claim jumping is a crime and people that do it should be punished. It does not matter whether the property is posted or not. It is the metal detectorist's responsibility to do his due diligence and make sure he is detecting on unclaimed public property. How does anybody know that a no trespassing sign was not torn down. Using metal detectors on a claim is CLAIM JUMPING. Serves them right, hope they stay in the can and learn a lesson.

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I slightly edited your comment and posted it! Placer County Sherrrif's Office is very concerned about mineral theft and will act as they should towards hygraders. The divide is almost all under claim or private property.

"Good for the Placer County Sheriff's office! Claim jumping is a crime and people that do it should be punished. It does not matter whether the property is posted or not. It is the metal detectorist's responsibility to do his due diligence and make sure he is detecting on unclaimed public property. How does anybody know that a no trespassing sign was not torn down. Using metal detectors on a claim is CLAIM JUMPING. Serves them right, they are thieves..hope they stay in the can and learn a lesson."

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We here on the Divide, as it is called and are very fortunate to live in a nearly crime free area. When a local is caught doing anything it is felt as a bad mark for the community. Most of the people in the know about this kind of anarchy here on the Divide will side with the Sheriff's Office. Their friends and family who know nothing of the laws concerning this will think it its the Sheriff or Auburn Journal just making a big thing of nothing just to ruin some locals life.......

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Same on our "Divide". Frontier justice being first in line then the SO. We had a logger get caught stealing from one of the logging truck driver's cab of his truck, tied to a tree nude with a sign on the main road with an arrow pointing out the dirt road to where he was at and saying "this is what we do with thieves". Unfortunately for the loggers, something about wrongful detention, kidnapping and other assorted charges were filed.

You could paint this as an unfortunate circumstance for these two young fellows, or you can see where they were clearly wrong, taking a chance of getting some easy gold and getting caught in the act. Packing heat didn't help them with the first choice.

Seems they have quite a few friends hoping they will just get their hands slapped and let loose. Don't think so.

Also, they must have done some research to know where to go to look for the shiny stuff. Premeditated.

They're young, still have a chance to learn from their mistakes.

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Guest Gripper

Fellow Claim Holders in California,

Lets remember, in the BLM published book titled "Location and Validity of Mining Claims and Sites in California" it outlines our duties as claimholders. Lets take a look at page 40, last paragraph titled "Marking Claim and Site Boundaries". It states; "Unless a mining claim or site is properly located and marked, it is invalid. Locations should be distinctly marked on the ground so that the boundaries can be readily traced and corners found. There are legal exceptions to this statement for placer claims and mill sites laid out on the U.S. Public Land Survey grid showing townships, ranges, and section lines. In this case, only the discovery or location post with properly attached notices is required. Even where not required by law, it is still a good idea to mark your corners and boundaries so they are clearly evident to others who may wish to locate in the same area."

Those of us in the know use LR2000 and other methods to determine whether or not a piece of land is open to prospecting. Others don't know this. They will jump your claim unknowingly. They are not guilty, it is your lazy ass that doesn't keep it posted. INVALID!!! DON'T HAND THE BUCK TO THEM, ITS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO KEEP IT MARKED AND POSTED!!!


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You can not file a placer claim over a lode claim and gain any rights. You can

not file any claim over another claimant without their permission and gain rights

period. If you do the placer is null and void from the start. It is illegal to prospect

on any open or valid mining claim without the owners permission period. You can

file a lode claim over your own placer claim ,but you can not file a lode claim over

another claimants placer claim and gain any rights,without permission.

Also Gripper is dead wrong about a claim not being valid because of missing

markers or posts. The law he quoted is only true for the inital locating and filing

requirements. This only insures that it was actually located ,and monumented at

the time of filing. The corners and description are recorded on the claim papers

and claim location map.

The States and BLM encourages claim owners to try to keep their markers and

monuments maintained,but it is not required for validity purpose. It is a prospectors

responsibility to know where any claims are before attempting to prospect. This

information can be found at the county recorders office,local and state BLM ,and

Forest Service offices. There is no excuse for not knowing where you are while


If Gripper was right,anyone could just remove your signs or monuments and go to

work. Federal and State law clearly states that ignorance is no defense,and you can

and will be prosecuted for mineral trespass,signs or no signs.

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I agree with Sawmill, it's the prospector's responsibility to research for valid claims before prospecting, any claim markers can be remove by anyone as soon as you replace them just so they can claim there were "No markers!", it's a common occurrence for claim markers to be vandalized/removed.


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Sawmill is 100% spot on! The marking of corners to keep a claim valid is not required in California, not even required to locate a claim! Many people tear out the corner markers thinking just that and they try to file a new claim, this happened many times a season on claims I have owned...... sorry Gripper. It has nothing to do with laziness at all. It is clearly the responsibility of the prospector to verify the status of the land prior to looking for minerals. Once again, the only sure method of finding out the land status is either County or BLM records.

One of these kids was a local from right here in Foresthill and he knew what he was doing and I am sure he as many locals do know that area was a valid claim.

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Sawmill is 100% correct in regard to the prevailing law. Unfortunately, there are many folks ignorant of the specialized laws relating to prospecting. With the TV hype and publicity flowing from recent reality shows plus the high price of gold in a sour economy, there has been a surge of newly interested prospectors and wanna bees who have no clue as to what the rules are. The dismay reflected in the public comments is not unexpected since this "public" likely is unaware of the rules as well. However, many individuals personally draw a distinction between violation of law out of ignorance and a knowing, premeditated violation of law. The former is no excuse in the eyes of the law, but in matters of conscience there is a huge distinction. So at the end of the process when punishment must be administered, should folks truly ignorant be treated the same as those who knowingly claim jump? I think some of the dismay reflected in the public comments stems from the moral divide that presents itself in this case. Alas, as Professor Prosser back in law school repeated many times, NEVER, EVER rely on a newspaper to get a legal story accurately published. There may be much more to this story than we know. The time for hanging is after the trial, not before.

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"If" it was marked, I hope they get the book thrown at them.

It doesn't matter whether it was marked or not! Like I said in my post, it is the detectorists/panners/dredgers/prospectors responsibility to know if they are on a valid claim. If "If" were the case, then there would be people taking down every claim marker they saw. And, most of the sierra nevada's are mapped with the grid system, so no corner markers are necessary. My "lazy ass" can't get up and mark and post every weekend after somebody takes down my claim marker.

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Not to change the subject, but Sawmill could you lay out exactly why you can't file a placer claim over a lode?

Is it different by state? Because the CO BLM specifically told me that it is allowed (under the restrictions I posted above) and I can't find anything in the 1876 mining law forbidding it. I mean, the two claims are mining two seperate resources which is a big reason why there are two separate claim types to begin with.

In some cases, like where I live, the lodes are for uranium and the placer is for gold. How does one mine the gold if they can't file a placer claim over it? The lode claim has no rights to it, but it is still a minable commodity by law. Similarly, in the case where both the placer and lode are mining gold, the gold in the placer deposit may not have even come from the lode itself, but many sources upstream (or uphill). If the lode claimant has a right to those resources then all lode claimaints upstream would have a right to them as well, which is I think one reason why lode claims don't apply to placer material. Also in other cases the lode extends out a great distance underground where there is no surface activity at all and I've seen commercial placer mines over existing lode claims in these cases.

So I am unclear where in the law it says that because a lode claim exists that you cannot file a placer claim over it?

Not trying to stir the pot, I'm just legitimately curious because what the BLM told me is conflicting with what your saying.

Jason, I could be wrong but I think the BLM will accept any claim paperwork (and the fee) that is submitted to them. They only collect the fees and the paperwork and I don't think they give refunds. They do not judge. Also, what they "said" and what they will put in writing are probably 2 different things.

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Vultures do it all the time.

Yep! You can put in claim papers over some else's legal claim.

They just sit back and collect the bucks.

However if the person with the Good claim defaults, You have a Claim.

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Vultures do it all the time.

Yep! You can put in claim papers over some else's legal claim.

They just sit back and collect the bucks.

However if the person with the Good claim defaults, You have a Claim.

A third person could stake the ground as soon as the "good claim" was declared abandoned and proceed to challenge the validity of the "vultures" claim, based on the fact that the vulture never had any rights to the minerals to begin with, due to the pre-existing rights of the "good claim" at the time the vulture filed. This is very easy case to prove.

As far as the claim jumpers, I'm sure they knew where they were and probably heard about the place from other thieves who were finding gold there. They probably took a "well everyone is doing it" mentality and ignored the fact that they weren't supposed to be there.

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Hello,I know that you are serious,and I appreciate that.

I will do my best to help with your questions. The law that you are looking for

can be found in the Federal register under mining laws. It is also found in the

BLM hand book for mining claims.

This is a law that has tripped up lots of miners,and cost them their claims. All

good commercial prospectors know these laws by heart. I have won in court

every time by knowing the laws.

A placer claim is only good for placer material and gains no lode rights.

A lode claim is only good for lodes and gains no placer rights. The law

states that a lode can be filed over a placer and gain rights,if you own

the existing placer claim,or have permission to over file from the placer


The same law states that a placer can not be filed over a lode claim

and gain any rights period.

In order to gain both rights,you have to file a placer claim first,then if

you find a lode while placering,you can overfile with a lode claim and

gain all rights. But in order to be valid both claims have to be maintained

as separate claims for as long as you have them.

This is why a smart prospector or mining company will always file placer

claims first on ground that may contain both placer and lode. They use

the placer claim for exploration. Also you can claim more ground with

less hassle to explore. Once you start with a lode claim you are stuck to

lode mining,also proving validity on a lode claim can be expensive and

harder to do. This is one of the little quirks in the mining law that will eat

your lunch.

Yes the BLM will stamp anything you lay in front of them and take your

money. This does not mean that you have a legal or valid claim. It does

set you up for serious problems ,and the BLM is not your Mama,they do

not care. It is your duty to do all research,and be with in the mining laws

before filing anything. If the claims you filed,is in conflict with BLM land

use ,they will send a null and void notice,sometimes months later. Believe

it or not the BLM does check those papers sooner or later.

If your claims are in conflict with an existing claim,you have no rights,and

can be sued,and evicted. The so called vulture thing is a myth ,and can

lead to some real problems for the overfiler in court.

An existing claim owner can put you packing in a hurry,if he knows the law.

They can also put some serious financial hurt on you too. If you have done

any damage to the land or vegetation ,while working an invalid claim,the BLM

and the claim owner can both come after you for damages. Also if you have

removed any minerals ,you will be facing felony mineral theft charges.

I have those laws in my files,and I will try to find them and post it for you.

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