Two Dutch nationals in search of Area 51 sentenced to jail for trespassing

Ed Komenda, Reno Gazette Journal

LAS VEGAS – The Dutch nationals in search of Area 51 arrested for trespassing on the Nevada National Security Site have pleaded guilty and are expected this week to leave jail and return to the Netherlands.

“We did not want to cause any trouble, it has all gone a little bit out of hand,” said 20-year-old Ties Granzier – the Dutch YouTube star charged last week with his 21-year-old friend, Govert Charles Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep – in a video statement the Nye County Sheriff’s Office released Monday. “We learned from our mistakes, and it’s good to be back in a bit.”

Granzier and Sweep appeared Monday in Beatty Justice Court and pleaded guilty to trespassing and illegal parking, according to Nye County District Attorney Chris Arabia.

The men were sentenced to one year in the county jail with all but 10 days suspended.

But their plea agreement comes with conditions: Stay away from any events near or related to the Nevada National Security Site and avoid stepping within 500 yards of the site for the next year.

Authorities say a pair of Dutch men trespassed on the Nevada National Security Site, about 18 miles from Area 51.

The men could be released from jail Thursday morning if their fines and fees – $2,280 each – are paid.

“It was important to us that these men serve jail time and pay a substantial financial penalty,” Arabia said. “We take this crime seriously, and people need to understand that we will not put up with this kind of nonsense.”

In search of Area 51

On Sept. 10, Nye County sheriff’s deputies responded to a report about foreign nationals trespassing on the Nevada National Security Site, a government testing range 65 miles north of Las Vegas.

The site is a 1,360-square-mile desert patch where scientists decades ago detonated more than 900 nuclear bombs. But the guarded government area is also 18 miles southwest of Area 51 – a military facility set inside a classified test and training range the size of Connecticut that for decades has fueled conspiracy theories and local lore about what exactly goes on there.

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In an Instagram post published before the encounter with police, Granzier posed in photos in front of the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. The caption, written in Dutch, foreshadowed the next stop on his journey through Nevada:

“Now on to crazy recordings of crazy adventures [at] Area 51.”

The caption has since been edited to remove reference to the mysterious government base.

The arrest

Deputies found a car parked 3 miles past the entrance gate.

Identified as the occupants of the vehicle, Sweep and Granzier told deputies they speak, read and write English. They saw the “No Trespassing” signs – but still they wanted a look.

Granzier identified himself as a “YouTuber.” He posts videos as “TIES” on a YouTube page that has more than 735,000 subscribers.

Deputies found in their possession several cameras, a phone, a laptop and a drone. The men consented to a search of the cameras. Deputies found video footage captured on the Nevada National Security Site property.

Sweep and Granzier were arrested and booked into the Nye County Detention Center.

If Granzier and Sweep comply with the conditions of their plea agreement, Arabia said, a conspiracy to trespass charge on hold against them will be dismissed.

“We’re not going to be in trouble again,” Sweep said.


This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Area 51 search: Dutch YouTuber and friend sentenced for trespassing