Social media has changed the way we view the world, and for Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, of Orem, Utah and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, of Provo, Utah, it also landed them behind bars in the county jail.
The two young men were arrested after bragging on Facebook about placing booby traps on a popular Utah hiking trail.
According to Utah County sheriff’s Sgt. Spencer Cannon, the traps were not just practical jokes, but were deadly military devices designed to kill. One device consisted of a trip wire that would send its victim plummeting head-first into a pit of sharpened spikes. The second device was also rigged with a trip wire. The 20-pound boulder was elevated into the tree line and set to swing down at head level. To lure in potential victims, Rutkowski and Christensen fashioned a makeshift wooden shelter just beyond the traps.
The accused told police the booby traps were for animals.
(Photo via public domain)
“This is a shelter put together by people, visited by people — anything that would be impacted by their device would have to be humans. 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 Cannon to the Associated Press. “Who goes up this trail thinking, I’m going to have to look out for booby traps? A kid could say, ‘Oh cool, a shelter,’ and run right across the trip line.”
Thankfully, the traps were noticed by U.S. Forest Service Officer James Schoeffler while he was on patrol in the area. Schoeffler has prior military device training, and knew exactly what the traps were when he spotted them.
A lot of people go up there after dark, as well,” Cannon said. “We’re very, very fortunate that it was Officer Schoeffler who found it.”
Because no one was injured, reckless endangerment is the most severe charge Christensen and Rutkowski will be faced with.
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