In a story that sounds like it was inspired by The Hunger Games, two men have been arrested for creating potentially fatal booby traps in the woods, on a popular hiking trail in Provo Canyon, Utah.
According to the L.A. Times and the Utah County Sheriff’s Office, Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, age 19, and Kai Matthew Christensen, age 21, created two traps near a wooden shelter known as “The Fort,” which is frequented by hikers — particularly families with children — on the Big Springs Trail in the South Fork Canyon area. Both traps were set to be triggered by trip wire: one which would have launched a 20-lb. bundle of rocks and wooden spikes swinging from an upper branch, and the other would trip a victim to fall on a group of sharp wooden spikes poking out of the ground.
“When you look at those things, you just get chills down your spine,” said Utah County sheriff’s sergeant Spencer Cannon. “One sends a rock the size of a football speeding at your head. The other is even more nightmarish. Walk into that trap and either you get the worst headache of your life or a stick through your eye.”
Thankfully, U.S. Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer James Schoeffler, who had military experience with identifying booby trap devices, spotted the traps while on patrol before anyone got hurt — or killed.
“There’s no question these traps were set for humans and that these suspects knew their deadly potential,” says Sergeant Cannon. “These two suspects tried to convince me that these traps really didn’t have risk to people, but I don’t buy it.”
The perpetrators confessed to their involvement in placing the traps, and were booked into the Utah County Jail on one charge of Reckless Endangerment, a Class A Misdemeanor.