March 12, 2014

Man charged with stealing fossilized dinosaur footprint

Jared Ehlers faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted of prying three-toed print from Hell's Revenge Trail in Utah

The dinosaur footprint stolen from a Utah national park. Photograph: Bureau of Land Management Utah

Associated Press

A man has been indicted on federal charges of stealing a fossilized dinosaur footprint from the Jurassic period.

The US attorney's office in Utah announced on Wednesday that a grand jury returned the indictment against 35-year-old Jared Ehlers of Moab. He is facing up to 20 years in prison on the most serious of four counts.

Authorities in south-east Utah say the three-toed ancient track was pried last month from the sandstone on the Hell's Revenge Trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area.

Messages at Ehlers' house were not immediately returned. It's unknown if he has an attorney yet.

Utah Bureau of Land Management district paleontologist Rebecca Hunt-Foster says the dinosaur tracks are 190 million years old. She says they are one-of-a-kind tracks that don't have a price.