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Minnesota man charged with vandalism of national monument in Montana

BILLINGS, Mont. — The U.S. Attorney’s Office has charged a Minnesota man with misdemeanor vandalism for carving his and another person’s name into the sandstone at Pompeys Pillar National Monument.

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Cole Randall of Plymouth, Minn., accepted responsibility for the act and agreed to pay $1,000 in fines and $3,400 in restitution, according to a release from the Bureau of Land Management Montana-Dakotas Office.

The Billings Gazette reported that Randall carved “Cole + Shpresa 10/10/2013” into the rock.

The monument is a protected site where Capt. William Clark carved his signature into the rock — the only remaining physical evidence of the Lewis and Clark Expedition’s actual route — just off the Yellowstone River in 1806 about 25 miles west of Billings.

“It is very sad and disheartening that someone would have such little regard for such a historic site,” said Jeff Kitchens, manager of Pompeys Pillar.  “We are hopeful that this incident raises public awareness about the negative impacts of vandalism.”