CALGARY -- A man charged with trying to steal the fossil of an ancient shellfish last summer pleaded not guilty to charges of theft and trespassing in a Lethbridge courtroom Wednesday.

Logan Heavy Shields, 26, was arrested following an incident that took place on July 18 of last year.

Workers at a pit mine near the community were on a lunch break when they witnessed two men approach one of the sites.

One of the suspects ended up climbing down the embankment, picked up a multi-coloured fossil and stuffed it into a backpack before fleeing the scene in a pickup truck.

Following a police investigation, Heavy Shields was arrested and charged with theft over $5,000 and a charge under the Petty Trespass Act.

He pleaded not guilty to those charges and a trial date is expected to be set at his next court appearance on Jan. 22.