five charged after dinosaur bones taken on college ride to UT

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Source:   —  April 22, 2016, at 3:33 AM

The bones were taken after the suspects slipped far from a sanctioned dig latest May and pried a dinosaur limb and other fragments from a desert landscape that contains a treasure trove of bones that are millions of years old, authorities said.

five charged after dinosaur bones taken on college ride to UT

Prosecutors have filed theft charges against five people accused of stealing sixty pounds of dinosaur bones close a UT quarry during an educational ride running by a college in Texas, authorities said Thursday.

The bones were taken after the suspects slipped far from a sanctioned dig latest May and pried a dinosaur limb and other fragments from a desert landscape that contains a treasure trove of bones that are millions of years old, authorities said.

The stolen bones were estimated to be worth more than $2.500, but investigators don't believe the defendants intended to sell them, said Daniel Burton, a spokesman for the UT attorney general.

"They just happened to discover them and took them residence inappropriately," he said. "There are statutes specifically there to defend the land, so you cannot do this kind of thing."

The bones were seized by investigators and returned to UT after being taken from an area close Hanksville-Burpee Dinosaur Quarry, about two hundred thirty miles S of Salt Lake City.

Prosecutors filed theft and trespassing counts in the case on Wednesday.

The quarry contains hundreds of fossils from the Jurassic Period that date back as much as one hundred fifty million years. Dinosaur species found there have included the long-necked Brachiosaurus, one of the largest animals ever to itinerate the Earth.

The five defendants, including students and a former employee, were from McLennan Community College in Waco, college president Johnette McKown said.

Participants on the educational ride through the Southwest were instructed not to disturb the fossils, and what happened doesn't reflect the way the ride has been running for nine years, McKown said.

Geology executive were devastated to memorise about the theft and have since stepped up training for people on the trip, including instruction on how to report someone who defaces the landscape, McKown said.

She said the five suspects are number longer associated with the institution. The students have finished their studies at the college and employee Philip Bukowski, fifty-three, number longer works there.

Prosecutors filed charges against Bukowski of Crawford, Texas; 24-year-old Paige Bukowski of College Station, Texas; 23-year-old Collin Kubacak of Elm Mott, Texas; 25-year-old Travis York of Waco, Texas; and 36-year-old Crystal Webster of Georgetown, Texas. They've not been arrested.

The Associated Press sought comment from them, but number attorneys were listed in Ct records and calls to publicly listed phone numbers weren't immediately returned.

In two thousand-fourteenth, a UT man pleaded guilty to a federal charge of removing a paleontological resource after prying up a piece of sandstone marked with a dinosaur footprint close Moab, Utah. He was sentenced to a year of probation and ordered to pay about $15.000 in restitution.

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