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Utah man charged with stealing dinosaur footprint

Posted by Doug Saffir  March 12, 2014 11:50 PM

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In the 21st century, most people wouldn't expect to see a man indicted on charges related to a prehistoric crime, but that's exactly what happened in Utah on Wednesday.

The Salt Lake Tribune said that Jared F. Ehlers, a 35-year-old Moab, Utah man, is accused of stealing and damaging a three-toed dinosaur footprint that was preserved near an off-road trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area.

From the Salt Lake Tribune:

The footprint was one of about 20 in the Hellís Revenge jeeping area near the Sand Flats Recreation Area, just east of Moab. An off-road tour operator took visitors to see the print on Feb. 18, only to find that the rock containing the print was no longer there.

The rock had partly come loose from the ground and appears to have been pried free with pry-bars, said Rebecca Hunt-Foster, Canyon Country paleontologist for the BLM, shortly after the theft.

And since the footprint was federal property, this dino-crime is being taken very seriously. One of the charges Ehlers is facing carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

That's some serious time, so one has to wonder what the guy's motivation was. Maybe he was hoping to sell it for a serious profit, or maybe he had much bigger plans...

(H/T Live Science)

Reach me at douglas.saffir@globe.com. Follow me @dougsaffir

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