In Brief

Utah Man Indicted in Dino Footprint Theft

stolen theropod track
This theropod track was stolen from a Jeep trail near Moab, Utah, on Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (Image credit: BLM)

A 35-year-old Utah man has been indicted in the theft of a three-toed dinosaur footprint from a track site in Moab.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports that a grand jury indicted Jared F. Ehlers on charges of prying the footprint from the ground. If convicted, Ehlers could face up to 20 years in prison.

Bureau of Land Management officials first became aware of the dino-theft on Feb. 18, when a local tour outfitter notified them that a clear track from a theropod dinosaur was missing. The track dates back about 120 million years and was one of about 20 tracks alongside a popular Jeep trail called Hell's Revenge.

Though there is now a suspect in the case, the footprint itself is still missing. Investigators searched a stretch of the Colorado River northeast of Moab on Saturday, acting on a tip that the rock had been tossed over a bridge, according to the Tribune. But they had no luck in finding the missing track.

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Stephanie Pappas
Live Science Contributor

Stephanie Pappas is a contributing writer for Live Science, covering topics ranging from geoscience to archaeology to the human brain and behavior. She was previously a senior writer for Live Science but is now a freelancer based in Denver, Colorado, and regularly contributes to Scientific American and The Monitor, the monthly magazine of the American Psychological Association. Stephanie received a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of South Carolina and a graduate certificate in science communication from the University of California, Santa Cruz.