Suspect eyed in theft of Utah dinosaur track

MOAB, Utah — Authorities in southeast Utah say they have a suspect in the theft of a fossilized dinosaur footprint on public land.

A search and rescue team in Grant County launched a search in the Colorado River near Moab for the ancient track that was cut last month from the sandstone on the Hell’s Revenge Trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area.

Utah Bureau of Land Management District paleontologist Rebecca Hunt-Foster said the dinosaur tracks are 190 million years old. They are one-of-a-kind tracks that don’t have a price, she said.

A dive team with the Utah Department of Public Safety searched the river on Saturday along State Route 128 near the Dewey Bridge about 32 miles northeast of Moab. But so far the team has had no luck in finding it.

Sheriff’s deputies said they have a suspect. But no charges have been filed and no other details released.

Utah Highway Patrol Capt. Doug McCleve, the dive teams’ commander, told the Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday the river was not deep, but the current and what he called “pitch dark” visibility made the search difficult. The dive team used sonar to identify objects that could be the footprint then directed a diver — crawling on his hands and knees — to those objects.

“There are, as you can imagine, a lot of rocks down in the river bed,” McCleve said. There are no immediate plans to resume the search, he said.


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