Salt Lake City public lands officials hiked into the foothills surrounding the city to remove a strange device that consisting of a locked battery box, a solar panel, and an antenna — and are planning to remove more devices from elsewhere in the area in the coming days and weeks.
Public lands officials said that the devices first appeared roughly a year ago, but have been spotted with increasing regularity in recent weeks. The devices have been installed without any permits, and officials are unclear who is responsible for them or what purpose they’re serving.
“These towers have been bolted into different peaks and summits and ridges around the foothills,” Tyler Fonarow, the city’s recreational trails manager, told KSLTV. “It started with one or two, and now it might be as much as a dozen.”
Devices thus far have been found on land managed by the University of Utah and land managed by the US Forest Service. Another device will be removed on Wednesday.
Mr Faranow speculated in an interview with the television network that the devices might in some way be connected to cryptocurrency, though he allowed that theory is just one of a number of different possibilities. Mr Faranow said that if the devices are related to crypto, relaying networks may be able to profit off of the placement of the devices.
The University of Utah said in a statement that it is collaborating with the city to get the devices removed.
“University of Utah representatives have been actively coordinating with City Public Lands officials to determine whether any member of our campus community is connected to the towers,” the university statement reads, in part. “As far as we know, the tower located on university property is not owned or operated by the university. We appreciate Salt Lake City’s collaboration and dedicated efforts to identify the owners.”