Bundy Militia Steals Files, Breaks Fence
They say documents expose gov't discrimination
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2016 3:44 AM CST
LaVoy Finicum carries his granddaughter as other family member watch following a news conference at the refuge on Friday near Burns, Ore.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – The armed group occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon has scored what it sees as another victory against the federal government, exposing Ammon Bundy and his followers to an array of possible new criminal charges in the process. Bundy says that the group has gone through government documents stored inside buildings at the remote refuge and obtained information that exposes how local ranchers have been discriminated against, reports the AP. Bundy—who told reporters that the group hadn't accessed computers at the refuge—claimed that the documents could help free Dwight and Steven Hammond, local ranchers who are serving time in prison for burning federal land.

After speaking to reporters, the group proceeded to use a US Fish and Wildlife excavator to destroy part of a fence in a stunt the Oregonian describes as "perhaps the militants' boldest yet." Bundy—whose followers say they will stay as long as it takes to return federal land to the people—said the fence was installed last year to prevent a neighboring rancher's 600 cattle from grazing on government land. He claimed the rancher had asked for his help. Fish and Wildlife issued a statement saying that "removing fences, damaging any refuge property, or unauthorized use of equipment would be additional unlawful actions by the illegal occupiers." (A convoy of more armed men turned up at the refuge over the weekend.)