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Hidden animal traps in Chesterfield woods raise neighbors’ concerns for safety

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CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A criminal investigation was launched recently, after large animal traps were found scattered throughout a Chesterfield neighborhood. One contraption in the Colony Point neighborhood was well-camouflaged. It caused Stephen Baker to do a face plant in the woods behind his house.

"It's like the Bugs Bunny cartoons with the jaw traps, except it didn't have the jaws," Baker said. "Unfortunately, I discovered the trap with my leg. I was walking along the creek with my kids and stepped into a snare trap and ended up on my face."

While Baker stepped in the trap during trapping season, conservation police said the man who put a number of traps in the woods didn't have permission or the proper placement tags.

"We had some illegal activity with a guy putting traps in a place where they shouldn't have been, and the department issued citations for that activity," Lee Walker, with Game and Inland Fisheriesm said.

There were several different kinds of traps set. Baker said he thought the trapper was trying to capture beavers that may have been chewing their way through the woods.

"Walk down a bit further and there was a leg-hold clamp," Baker said. "For an adult to get caught in one, is not a big deal, but a young child could suffer some serious damage."

Baker said his land backs up to protected conservation property. One reason he likes the place is because his kids can explore wilderness. The possibility that other untagged traps are out there is now an ongoing concern and wildlife experts say if you come across one, stay clear and call them.

"Leave it alone. Don’t try to touch or spring the trap," said Walker.

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