Stock image
Police have found several caltrops — small, spiky weapons made of nails — scattered outside the Salt Lake County Jail, the sheriff's office said.

SOUTH SALT LAKE — Police have found several caltrops — small, spiky weapons made of nails — scattered outside the Salt Lake County Jail, the sheriff's office said.

A "suspicious" person was seen near the jail Tuesday night, but was gone by the time deputies went to talk to him, Salt Lake County Sheriff's Sgt. Kevin Hunter said. An extensive search of the property the next morning turned up several caltrops in the road and other frequently trafficked areas outside the jail.

Police don't know whether it was the man spotted Tuesday night who left the caltrops, or whether the weapons were laced with anything, Hunter said. He described caltrops as "a pretty old and gnarly type of weapon used back in old times," and noted they were often laced with poisonous substances when used in warfare.

The sheriff's office was most concerned about the caltrops left in the road and driveway, Hunter said, as the weapons have the ability to "wreak havoc" on tires.

Comment on this story

He declined to say exactly how many caltrops were found, but said the sheriff's office is confident it has found all the weapons left in heavily trafficked areas. The office has not received any reports of people stepping on the caltrops or picking them up in their tires, Hunter said.

"We feel pretty confident that there’s not a public safety issue at this time around our campus, but we want people to be aware," Hunter said.

After a standard search of the area outside the jail Tuesday night turned up several caltrops, the office conducted a mass search of the areas outside both the main jail and the Oxbow Jail the next morning to find any remaining weapons. There were no caltrops found outside the Oxbow Jail, Hunter said.