A pair of Utah County men who police say booby-trapped a crudely constructed fort along a popular hiking trail last month have been charged with felony aggravated assault.
Benjamin Steven Rutkowski, 19, of Orem, and Kai Matthew Christensen, 21, of Provo, were each charged this week in 4th District Court with the third-degree felony count. A court date for the men has been scheduled for June 13.
According to court documents, the men built two traps around a man-made shelter near the Big Springs trailhead in Provo Canyon: a suspended ball of rocks and sharpened sticks that would "swing at face level of a person" who triggered a trip wire near the shelter's entrance; and a second trip wire at another entrance that could cause someone to fall on sharpened sticks protruding from the ground.
The Forest Service officer who noticed the traps while patrolling the area last month said the traps "could cause significant or lethal" injuries, court documents state.
According to the charges, both men admitted making the traps but said they were intended for animals, not people.
Rutkowski and Christensen could not immediately be reached for comment Friday.
A third-degree felony carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.