By Steve Neavling
Witnesses to the FBI’s search for a fabled cache of Civil War-era gold in a Pennsylvania forest have raised questions about the bureau’s dig in March 2018.
The FBI insists it came up empty-handed following its search in a remote woodland site in northwestern Pennsylvania.
But treasure hunters believe the FBI is hiding something and filed a lawsuit in February after the bureau refused to disclose records of its excavation in Dents Run, where legend has it that a gold shipment was lost or hidden during the battle of Gettysburg in 1863.
Two witnesses of the search — Eric McCarthy, 45, and Don Reichel, 73 — have contradicted the FBI’s official statements about the excavation, according to a recent interview with the Associated Press.
They said they saw the FBI with a parked excavator, a gash in the earth, and people huddling under a canopy around 5 a.m. on March 14, 2018. The FBI’s timeline contends the bureau didn’t arrive at the site until 8 a.m. that morning.
“I can hear some machines, or something, clanging and banging and roaring and all that stuff,” Reichel, a retired manufacturing worker, said.
Later, they said they saw three heavily loaded armored trucks rumbling past them, and one of the trucks appeared to be weighed down.
“They took something out of Dents Run,” McCarthy insisted. “Something heavy.”
The FBI denies that armored trucks were on the site.
Treasure hunters speculate that the FBI was active at night to conceal the gold.
“And why would you do a night dig,” Warren Getler, a consultant for the treasure hunters, said, “unless you wanted to remove the gold under cover of darkness?”
The FBI has refused to disclose records, including its operational plan for the gold dig, saying the information is exempt from disclosure.
On Sept. 27, U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta told the the FBI it needed a better justification for failing to disclose the records.
“The FBI may have found the gold — or maybe not,” the judge said in a ruling last week.