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Utah man admits stealing and throwing away rare dinosaur footprint fossil

Published on Jul 11, 2014 8:38 AM

SALT LAKE CITY (REUTERS) - A Utah man has admitted stealing and then throwing away a very rare fossilised dinosaur footprint, but will not spend any time in prison, according to court documents.

Jared Ehlers, a 35-year-old construction worker, pleaded guilty on Wednesday in US District Court in Salt Lake City to one federal charge of removing a paleontological resource.

Under the terms of the plea deal, he will be fined US$15,000 (S$18,633) and serve a year's probation, including six months of home confinement. In return for his plea, prosecutors dropped charges including theft and depredation of government property, and destruction of evidence.

The footprint was embedded in a 70-kg rock slab in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, near Moab, about 380 km southeast of Salt Lake City. The area is popular for its mountain bike trails, rugged red rock landscape and wealth of fossilised remains.

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