HomeWorld NewsOhio siblings face felony charges after they chopped down a 250-year-old tree...

Ohio siblings face felony charges after they chopped down a 250-year-old tree to sell it for lumber, authorities say

File picture of a Beech tree.Artur Debat/Getty Images

  • Two Ohio siblings accused of chopping down a 250-year-old walnut tree are dealing with felony charges.

  • Todd Jones and Laurel Hoffman stated they believed tree was a part of Jones’ property.

  • Prosecutors stated the stump of the tree was about eight toes outdoors their property line.

Two Ohio siblings had been charged with felony theft after they lower down a centuries-old Black Walnut tree and organized to have it logged and bought for lumber, Cleveland officers stated on Friday.

The tree was one of many largest of its form within the state, officers stated, in accordance to Cleveland.com.

Todd Jones, 56, and Laurel Hoffman, 54, are accused of chopping down the tree, estimated to be greater than 250 years outdated, in September final 12 months. Jones claimed the tree was a part of his property in Strongsville, a suburb about 16 miles outdoors of Cleveland. 

Prosecutors charged Jones and Hoffman, arguing that the tree was not on his property. Rather, they stated the tree grew in a area owned by Cleveland Metroparks, which oversees 24,000 acres of nature reserves throughout the Greater Cleveland space.

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The charging paperwork say the stump was about eight feet outside their property line.

Both Hoffman and Jones had been charged on December 29, every receiving one depend of theft by deception and falsification. Both charges are felonies that carry a most sentence of 18 months in jail, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s workplace stated, in accordance to the New York Times.

“Given our urban setting and the threats to healthy tree growth, it is very uncommon to find a black walnut of this size,” stated Jacqueline Gerling, a spokesperson for Cleveland Metroparks, in accordance to the Times.

Officials stated Jones first blamed his sister after which grew to become defensive when authorities advised him his mother-in-law, who lives in the home close to the tree, had already advised them that he and his sister had chopped it down, NBC News reported.  

The tree was value not less than $28,800, the Cleveland Metroparks Police Department stated. To substitute the tree would value over $100,000.

“It’s not the crime of the century,” Jones advised the police, the Times reported. 

Both Jones and Hoffman have stated they do not imagine they ought to face charges. 

“This is so ridiculous that they’re doing this,” Jones stated in an interview with Cleveland.com. “This is insane. There was no ill intent.”

Jennifer Grieser, the director of pure assets at Cleveland Metroparks, stated she in September final 12 months had been strolling via a reservation when she found a “freshly cut” stump the place the tree had as soon as been, in accordance to the Times. 

“We will not ignore people trespassing onto park property and illegally cutting down irreplaceable trees for profit,” stated O’Malley, in accordance to the Times.

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