Ohio siblings encounter felony charges just after they chopped down a 250-year-aged tree to provide it for lumber, authorities say

Old beech tree in the Montseny nature reserve.

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

Two Ohio siblings accused of slicing down a 250-12 months-aged walnut tree are going through felony rates.

Todd Jones and Laurel Hoffman said they thought tree was part of Jones’ house.

Prosecutors reported the stump of the tree was about eight feet outdoors their house line.

Two Ohio siblings ended up charged with felony theft immediately after they slice down a hundreds of years-previous Black Walnut tree and organized to have it logged and marketed for lumber, Cleveland officials explained on Friday.

The tree was one of the greatest of its kind in the point out, officers explained, in accordance to Cleveland.com.

Todd Jones, 56, and Laurel Hoffman, 54, are accused of chopping down the tree, approximated to be much more than 250 many years old, in September last yr. Jones claimed the tree was component of his home in Strongsville, a suburb about 16 miles outdoors of Cleveland. 

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

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The charging documents say the stump was about 8 feet outdoors their assets line.

The two Hoffman and Jones ended up charged on December 29, every single acquiring a single rely of theft by deception and falsification. Both rates are felonies that have a optimum sentence of 18 months in jail, Cuyahoga County prosecutor Michael O’Malley’s office environment stated, according to the New York Moments.

“Specified our city location and the threats to healthful tree advancement, it is very unusual to obtain a black walnut of this measurement,” stated Jacqueline Gerling, a spokesperson for Cleveland Metroparks, in accordance to the Times.

Officials mentioned Jones initial blamed his sister and then became defensive when authorities told him his mother-in-regulation, who life in the household in the vicinity of the tree, experienced previously told them that he and his sister had chopped it down, NBC Information noted.  

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The tree was value at least $28,800, the Cleveland Metroparks Law enforcement Division explained. To replace the tree would expense around $100,000.

“It can be not the crime of the century,” Jones explained to the police, the Situations claimed. 

The two Jones and Hoffman have stated they will not believe they must confront costs. 

“This is so preposterous that they’re performing this,” Jones said in an job interview with Cleveland.com. “This is crazy. There was no unwell intent.”

Jennifer Grieser, the director of natural means at Cleveland Metroparks, claimed she in September previous yr had been walking by way of a reservation when she uncovered a “freshly lower” stump wherever the tree experienced at the time been, in accordance to the Periods. 

“We will not ignore people trespassing onto park house and illegally cutting down irreplaceable trees for earnings,” claimed O’Malley, according to the Instances.

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