Utah Booby Traps Spotted By Luck, Military Training of Forest Service Officer

Yesterday, we reported on the Utah booby traps discovered in Provo that were both disturbing and deadly, and the man responsible for uncovering the bizarre devices has credited his military training for catching the situation before someone got hurt or killed.

One of the more alarming things about the Utah booby traps is that the handmade devices were set precisely to evade notice by your average trail-goer, composed of natural materials that blended into the landscape- including a spiked boulder and sharpened tree branches. Trip wires, which an average civilian would not even think to look out for, were set to lure and trap unsuspecting hikers and nature walkers into the life-threatening booby traps.

However, US Forest Service Officer James Schoeffler is not your average hiker. It’s quite fortuitous for Utah hikers that the dude who spotted the Utah booby traps has 12 years of military experience behind him, with a tendency to spot hidden, harmful devices. What’s more, Schoeffler dismantled bombs during his tours of duty in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans, so the officer is skilled in spotting and defusing dangerous devices.

Bemused, the Forest Service Officer says the crude Utah booby traps still took him off guard when he found them:

“It was just so out of place and so odd… I’ve seen devices and booby traps all over the world, but I never thought I’d see one in Provo, Utah.”


Due to his years of service, Schoeffler knew that the presence of one such device meant that others were likely lurking nearby:

“Typically, anywhere I’ve been, if there’s one, there’s two, if there’s three, there’s four… The way I treated that is the way I would treat a scene in a deployed environment… As a bomb disposal technician, you would find and disarm them.”

Two young men believed to be responsible for the Utah booby traps have been arrested and charged with misdemeanor reckless endangerment.

Utah Booby Trap Suspects