Inland Empire Update: Homemade Mining Operation Considered Harmful

Montclair gold hunter digs 60-foot-deep hole in front yard

MONTCLAIR, Calif. (AP) A homeowner digging for gold in his front yard said he got “carried away” and ended up with a 60-foot-deep hole, authorities said.

Henry Mora, 63, began digging two weeks ago after his gold detector picked up a signal near his front patio.

“I figured, well, maybe there’s something down there you would logically conclude, right? So I started digging,” the semiretired musician said Wednesday.

Mora said he only intended to go down 3 or 4 feet, but he started finding gold dust in the dirt and the detector kept hinting that he was getting closer.

“It was still beeping, and that just gave me the idea to keep digging,” he said. “I think it’s a normal human reaction, especially when you think there might be gold down there.”

A neighbor who saw the mound of dirt growing on Mora’s lawn became concerned and called authorities Tuesday. Fire officials responding to the home found two men inside the unreinforced hole, using a bucket and rope to remove dirt. Mora had hired the two men to help him.

“We told him, ‘You’re done,”’ Montclair fire Capt. Rich Baldwin said. “It’s amazing no one got killed.”

Authorities fenced off Mora’s property and ordered him to hire an engineer to safely pack the dirt back into the ground.

Mora acknowledged his search for buried treasure was getting “totally out of hand.” Yet when asked whether he regrets starting the dig, Mora was conflicted.

“In a way yes, and in a way no,” Mora said, “because I think there’s still gold down there.”

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