Deadly Booby Traps Set on Popular Utah Trail

In news that’s disturbing at best, two men have been arrested for suspicion of misdemeanor reckless endangerment for setting up military-style booby traps along a popular hiking trail in Provo Canyon, Utah.

The traps, which included a 20-pound spiked boulder that was rigged by a tripwire to swing at a person’s head level, and another designed with fishing line to trip an unsuspecting hiker or animal to fall into a bed of wooden stakes (photos), were built near a makeshift shelter.

The two men, Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, of Orem and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, of Provo, claim the traps were intended for wildlife, but authorities don’t buy it.

“This is a shelter put together by people, visited by people ― anything that would be impacted by their device would have to be humans,” said Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon. “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.”

The traps were discovered by James Schoeffler, a law enforcement officer for the U.S. Forest Service with military experience who was patrolling the area. While the the hanging boulder and white rope may have been easy to spot, the tripwire and ditch would have been easy to miss, especially for anyone hiking at night.

“It was just so out of place and so odd,” said Schoeffler. “I’ve seen devices and booby traps all over the world, but I never thought I’d see one in Provo, Utah.”

Authorities believe a misdemeanor to be the harshest charge possible in this situation, since no one was actually  injured.

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Photo credit: Thinkstock


ER C4 years ago

I signed it

Gene Sengstake
Gene Sengstake5 years ago

There will always be folks like this around. You probably won’t even hear about most of them. In contrast to this case - they will usually get away with their deeds of cruelty and worse. The law literally protects them from any kind of just punishment even if they are caught. So what does one do? Change the laws? As if that would be anything more than a symbolic gesture. It’s human nature - especially with these people - to think they can get away with almost anything. Punishment is not really a deterrent because they know that even if they do get caught - it will most likely be no more than a slap on the wrist. As with everything else - you’re dealing with people - an unknown variable. So is there even an answer in how to deal with situations like this? Can they be prevented? Probably not. They’ll always be with us in one form or another - something we’ll probably just have to get used to - - -

Linda P.
Linda P5 years ago

This is so wrong and cruel. They got off to easy, just because no one was injured. What do we think they put those there for, to trap and torture a human or an animal.

Linda Jarsky
Linda Jarsky5 years ago

If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. ---St. Francis of Assisi

Terry Vanderbush
Terry V5 years ago

TRAPS SUCK... If trappers want to :trap" something, use a hidden camera.......... or did a big hole and jump in

Tricia Hamilton
Tricia Hamilton5 years ago

These men are cowards!! They are afraid of their own shadows, Rot in Hell boys!!!

Ligita Mikelsons
Ligita Mikelsons5 years ago

Even if these traps were intended for animals, what gives them the right to trap any animal? Is it any less cruel? The clear answer is NO!

Judy C.
Judy Cook5 years ago

Cruel, sadistic humans that couldn't care less. They make me sick !! Traps are so cruel, what a way to die. BAN ALL TRAPS NOW. Unless of course it is to catch idiot humans.

Heather Marvin
Heather Marvin5 years ago

Such evil intentions they need to be watched these three. Traps are horrible things.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner5 years ago

Primitive and savage governments of states like Utah, Montana, Wyoming should be held to account for encouraging such crimes against wildlife. They only see their guilt when people get caught in the same barbaric traps they allow.