By Steve Chan

The Evidence Recovery Team of the THSSCV had a busy month with two requests for services involving nearly 20 members of the club who made themselves available within 12 hours of notification.

The First Call-Out:
On Monday evening, February 12th, 2007, Tom Elliott and Fred Schlicting received a telephone call from a local law enforcement agency who requested the club's assistance in the recovery of a metallic object associated with a major crime.

Fred immediately went to the list of individuals who have signed up for the club's evidence recovery team, and made a phone call to everyone on the list with the goal of making a live contact with those experienced club members on the list. When Fred reached the end of the list, he began again at the top of the list and began calling until he had enough individuals to participate in the recovery effort.

On Tuesday morning, February 13th, 2007, the group met detectives from the requesting agency at a central location in Monterey County. Members of the Evidence Recovery Team were briefed by the detectives involved in the case. The briefing included information about the location to be searched, why there was a belief that the search area was a valid search area, and and what we were searching for. The Evidence Recovery Team was given permission to state that the search area was "on a beach in Monterey County."*

When the group reached the beach, one of the detectives dug a hole in the sand and placed a similar metal object, a test target, in the hole and covered it up so members of the team could gain some familiarity on the sound the target might return / if found.

The club's evidence recovery group then began a systematic search of the area of the beach, as well as surrounding area. Frustrating most members of the search team was the high concentration of black sand in the search area.

"It was about the thickest black sand I've ever experienced," remarked David Snook, former club curator, and partner in the Treasure Hunter store.

"I was only getting maybe 4 or more inches with my Minelab Explorer," commented club member Tom Tanner, who is one of the foremost local experts on SF and Monterey Bay beach detecting. "This is really incredible how thick this black sand is. I don't think I've seen many areas this heavy in black sand in my years and years of detecting."

Despite the tough search conditions, members of the recovery team kept searching; researching, detecting areas gone over by others, and working systematic search patterns.

"This clearly was a team effort with multiple types of detectors in multiple setting," quipped Fred, the evidence recovery team leader.

After an hour of frustrated searching, the group had collectively found only a very small amount of fresh clad, a still ticking Ford logo quartz wristwatch, and several straightened wire coat hangers which were apparently used to roast hot dogs or marshmallows on the beach.

Approaching 1.5 hours from the start of the search, a shout was heard; calling the detectives to a hole where Sarah Lohberger said she began to dig and suddenly realized that she had located "something". Sarah had dug about 8 inches deep and partially exposed what appeared to be the object that the group had been searching for and the detectives were seeking!

"I wasn't thinking that it was much of anything. It registered as a weak dime signal, so I figured I might as well just go ahead and dig the dime. It was a fairly clean beach and it didn't seem like we were going to find what we were looking for in that highly mineralization sand," later commented Sarah.

The object was carefully removed by the detectives and they confirmed it was the item that they were searching for.

With the job done, everyone smiled and laughed, chatted a bit, and the detectives were pleased. Certainly it was a great day for Sarah. Finding the evidence that everyone was searching for, and she personally found, was very special. But, more importantly, it was the collective efforts of everyone who participated in the recovery that made the team a success.

Fred Schlichting, Team leader
Dave Snook
Tom Frank
Tom Tanner
Glen Hildebrand
Steve Scally
Steve Chan
Doug Manke
Adrienne Tidwell
Gene Gibbs
Ron Satterlee
Sara Lohberger
Dan Lohberger
Jason Naona

* By request of the law enforcement agency, this article does not specify the agency name, specific search location, specific crime involved, and item(s) found - if found.