The Latest: Tribe to seek prosecution if relics go missing

The latest on an armed group that took over federal buildings at an Oregon wildlife refuge (all times local):

4 p.m.

The chairwoman of the Burns Paiute Tribe has asked federal officials to bring criminal charges if any ancient artifacts are damaged or missing from a wildlife refuge currently occupied by an armed group.

Thousands of ancient artifacts and maps to prehistoric sites are kept at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

Tribe Chairwoman Charlotte Rodrique says she feels helpless knowing that her ancestors' possessions and remains are now in the hands of the armed group angry about federal land policy.

She sent a letter to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service urging federal prosecution, if warranted, on Friday.

One of the leaders of the armed group, Ryan Bundy, has said the group isn't interested in the artifacts but wants the refuge land opened to ranchers and loggers.

2:45 p.m.

Authorities say they have arrested an Oregon man who was driving a government vehicle stolen from a wildlife refuge that an armed group has occupied for nearly two weeks.

Oregon State Police made the arrest Friday at a grocery store in Burns.

Authorities say Kenneth Medenbach of Crescent was arrested for investigation of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

It's unclear whether the 62-year-old Medenbach was one of the men occupying the refuge or if he has a lawyer.

Authorities also say they recovered a second stolen vehicle from the refuge, but provided no other details.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had previously reported the vehicles had been stolen.


11:35 a.m.

A spokesman for the armed group occupying a national wildlife refuge in Oregon says they still want to have a meeting with local residents, perhaps early next week.

Arizona rancher Robert "LaVoy" Finicum told reporters Friday the group protesting federal land policies was hoping the meeting might occur Monday, if they can find a place to hold it. They had wanted to conduct the meeting Friday night to explain themselves and perhaps say when they would leave, but Harney County officials won't let them use the fairgrounds, as they'd hoped.

The group has previously said they would not leave until a plan was in place to turn over federal lands to local authorities. The armed men began occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2.


8:42 a.m.

As a standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge hits the two-week mark, local residents are growing increasingly weary and wary.

Concrete barriers and fences block off streets around the Harney County Courthouse in the small eastern Oregon town of Burns where law enforcement officers called in from around the state have set up a command center in the back and guard the vehicle entrance. And when they go out they travel in pairs.

About 30 miles to the south an armed group has taken over the national wildlife refuge Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to protest federal land use policies.

Local residents express a mix of feelings about the standoff. Some are angry with what many consider overly restrictive policies on federal lands but aren't enthused about the armed group that took over the refuge.