Two young men in Utah have been arrested for setting potentially deadly booby traps along a popular hiking trail south of Salt Lake City. One of the traps was a 20-pound boulder rigged with wooden spikes that, when triggered by a trip wire, would swing across the trail at head height, the Washington Times reports. The other was a spike-filled pitfall trap, according to the BBC.
Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, were arrested and released on bail last Saturday. They say the traps, which were built around a makeshift shelter, were meant for animals. Prosecutors are reportedly preparing misdemeanor charges all the same.
“It took some time to build these traps. They took rope, heavy-duty fishing line, and they intended what the traps were going to do,” said Utah County Sherriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon. “This is a shelter put together by people, visited by people – anything that would be impacted by their device would have to be humans.”
The traps were found by keen-eyed U.S. Forest Service officer James Shoeffler, who spotted the trip wires while on routine patrol. As the BBC reports, Rutkowski and Christensen were nabbed by police based on Facebook comments they made in recent days.
“A lot of people go up there after dark, as well,” Cannon told the Associated Press. “We’re very, very fortunate that it was Officer Schoeffler who found it.”