On the hunt for Area 51, Dutch YouTube star arrested in Nevada desert, cops say

Two men from the Netherlands on a mission to find Area 51 instead wound up in custody Tuesday in the Nevada desert, Nye County sheriff’s officials say.

Govert Charles Wilhelmus Jacob Sweep, 21, and Ties Granzier, 20, face charges of trespassing at a secure site, the sheriff’s office says in a video release on Facebook.

Granzier, who has 730,000-plus YouTube subscribers, had posted earlier Tuesday on Instagram from the Grand Canyon to say he was heading to Area 51 next, BuzzFeed reported.

He and Sweep were discovered in a vehicle parked at a gate three miles inside the Nevada National Security Site, Nye County sheriff’s deputies say.

Inside the vehicle, deputies found cameras, phones, laptops and a drone, the release says. Deputies also found video footage taken inside the security site on the cameras.

Granzier and Sweep told deputies they understand English but ignored signs warning against entering the site because they wanted to get a look at it, the sheriff’s office says.

The Nevada National Security Site, about 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is not part of Area 51, but is home to “top-secret nuclear experiments,” BuzzFeed reported.

A viral “Storm Area 51” movement in July inspired global interest in the fake event scheduled for September, but the creator of the jokey meme later endorsed an Alienstock music festival instead, CNN reported.

Now Matty Roberts has pulled out of that event as well, citing fears of a “humanitarian disaster” as a result of disorganization and poor planning, the network reported.

Related stories from Merced Sun-Star

Don Sweeney has been a newspaper reporter and editor in California for more than 25 years. He has been a real-time reporter based at The Sacramento Bee since 2016.