Man in federal probe promotes artifact business

Orchard Mesa resident says he has done nothing wrong

BOB KNOWLton is shown Thursday through the window of his Orchard Mesa home at 1602 Dolores St., one of several locations searched by federal agents. Knowles has not been arrested nor is he one of 24 people who have been indicted in the theft of artifacts.

FEDERAL AGENTS remove items Thursday that were found in the home of Bob Knowles, 1602 Dolores St. A law enforcement official said the items were relevant to an ongoing investigation of the thefts of American Indian artifacts from federal lands in the Four Corners region.

An Orchard Mesa man whose home was searched by federal agents maintains a Web page where he seeks to buy, sell or trade artifacts collected from across the region.

“All relics are authentic unless otherwise stated,” reads the Web page operated by Bob Knowlton at 1602 Dolores St. in Grand Junction.

Robert B. Knowlton purchased the home at 1602 Dolores St. on June 5, according to Mesa County property records.

Six days after the purchase, federal agents showed up with a search warrant and left 10 hours later after removing several items.

A law enforcement official involved in Thursday’s search of Knowlton’s home told The Daily Sentinel the items were relevant to an ongoing investigation of the thefts of American Indian artifacts from federal lands in the Four Corners region.

No arrest was made, and no summons was issued Thursday.

Knowlton said he had done nothing wrong and would soon explain “what was going on.”

Knowlton’s Web page lists several items for sale or trade: knives, spears, arrowheads and other unspecified relics recovered from around the region.

“New listings coming 6/10/09,” the page reads.

The site indicates Knowlton is a member of the Authentic Artifact Collectors Association.

The organization writes in its rules of conduct that members should “engage in the discovery, collection, and/or sale of legally obtained artifacts only.”

The page is found at

Jeff Dorschner, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Denver, said Knowlton’s home was one of several locations in Colorado where search warrants were executed
Thursday in connection with the Four Corners artifacts probe.

Federal prosecutors announced Wednesday the arrests of 24 people in Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Authorities worked with a confidential informant over two years to build a case against an alleged ring of excavators, dealers and collectors.


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