(AP) - The four-year drought that has ravaged California and the wildfires charring through dry forests are exposing Native American sites, helping looters searching for prehistoric objects to more easily spot the obsidian spear points and other artifacts.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports Sunday looters are flocking to the water's newly exposed edge or traversing the scorched earth looking for signs of Native American sites.
Taking the artifacts is illegal, in some cases a felony but it remains an under-the-radar crime.
But there is a new effort by officials to attack the problem before it gets worse and some law enforcement officers have been trained to spot looters.
The Lake County Sheriff's Office says that shortly after an August training one of its deputies located a suspect with a satchel full of spear points, serrated hand tools and obsidian flakes.