Utah Men Busted for Deadly Traps on Hiking Trail

Booby traps were designed to harm hikers, police say
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 24, 2012 3:07 AM CDT

(Newser) – Police in Utah believe it was only luck that prevented booby traps set up along a popular hiking trail from killing or maiming somebody. One trap was designed to swing a 20-pound spiked boulder at a hiker's head while the other would cause the victim to fall on sharpened stakes. The traps, both triggered by ground wires, were spotted by a Forest Service officer who had been trained in hazardous device detection while serving in the military, the AP reports. They had been placed in a crude shelter near a busy trailhead.

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Police arrested two men, aged 21 and 19, after posting an appeal for information on Facebook and receiving a tip-off. The pair claimed the devices were meant for animals but police rejected that explanation. "This is a shelter put together by people, visited by people—anything that would be impacted by their device would have to be humans," a police spokesman says. "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." Since the devices did not injure anybody, prosecutors say reckless endangerment is the strongest charge the pair will face. (Read more booby trap stories.)

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