Colorado man claims he saw who removed Utah's mysterious desert monolith

This Nov. 18, 2020 photo provided by the Utah Department of Public Safety shows a Utah state worker inspecting a metal monolith that was found installed in the ground in a remote area of red rock in Utah. (Utah Department of Public Safety via AP)

SALT LAKE CITY (KUTV) — A Colorado man says he saw who removed the metal monolith from the middle of the desert near Monticello, Utah.

Ross Bernards is one of many who were drawn to the Utah desert by the allure of the shiny monolith.

“Someone posted the coordinates on Reddit, and then it ended up on Google Maps," Bernards said.

So, he and his friends came from Colorado, hoping to see the monolith before it was gone. And in fact, he came pretty close to missing it.

“Weren’t expecting it to come down in front of our eyes,” Bernards said.

Bernards says he caught some of the monolith’s final moments.

“When we got to it, there were four people there who had strung up some Christmas lights around it, were having fun," he said.

But when that group left, he says four more people moved in.

“One of them turned to us and said, 'I hope you got your photos,'" he said.

Then, Bernards says they began working to take down the monolith.

“Both of them just started pushing on it and pushing on it, and you could tell it was moving," he said. “They all went to the other side to push it back the other way, and it just popped out and landed on the ground with a massive thud."

Bernards said the people came prepared with tools and a wheelbarrow, and hinted at their objective.

As soon as it hit the ground, one of them said, 'this is why you don’t leave trash in the desert,'" he said. “As they were done putting everything in the wheelbarrow, they just said, 'leave no trace,' turned around, and wheeled it out of the canyon."

“It was not BLM and it was not anyone in an official capacity removing the structure,"said Rachel Wootton with the Bureau of Land Management.

She says it will be up the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to investigate what happened and why.

“The structure is technically personal property. We were investigating why it was there and why it was left there, but we’ll actually work closely with the local sheriff’s office," Wootton said.

The San Juan County Sherriff’s office wrote on Facebook they take all reports of crime seriously, but do not have the “proper resources to devote much time to the appearance and subsequent disappearance/ theft...” The post went on to show a line up of potential suspects, ranging from Baby Yoda to ET.

For those who didn’t make it to the monolith, Bernards has a message:

There is no conspiracy. This was 100% man made. This has nothing to do with aliens, has nothing to do with top government things. It was empty inside; it was just full of air. That’s it."

The Bureau of Land Management is reminding people that the former site of the monolith is a remote area without services for the many people going to visit. They ask that if you make the trek, please don’t leave anything behind (including more monoliths).

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