Crime scene declared after looting at Virginia battlefield

PETERSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia’s National Park Service says a portion of the Petersburg National Battlefield has been declared a crime scene after looting.

Chief of interpretation Chris Bryce said Saturday that park officials are in the process of assessing the damage. He said there were a number of places where the ground had been dug up earlier this week. Bryce said often times people will illegally excavate areas in national parks and battlefields to dig up relics to sell online.

Petersburg National Battlefield is a 2,700-acre park, about 26 miles south of Richmond, that marks where more than 1,000 Union and Confederate soldiers died fighting during the Siege of Petersburg 151 years ago.

Bryce said the battlefield remains open for visitors, but only a portion of it has been declared off limits as a result of the looting.