PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
Tree Vandal 4-26-13

AN INFRARED CAMERA captured the back of a suspect cutting down trees on personal property at 1 a.m. on April 26. Photo courtesy Robert Deitz

News

‘Tree killer’ caught on tape

By From page A3 | May 20, 2013

Last December, Robert Deitz was the victim of a tree killing spree on Lotus Road, where someone chopped down about 20 trees in the middle of the night. On April 26, they struck for a third time since the initial incident.

Deitz said that “there is a serial tree killer on the loose along Lotus Road,” noting he knew of two other properties that had been hit. This time, however, he has photographic evidence of someone killing his trees.

An infrared camera captured the back of the suspect, Deitz said. The suspect cut down five trees at 1 a.m.

Now, “the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Dept has someone assigned to this now as he has attacked several properties, and continues to do so,” Deitz said.

In March, Bridget Heifner found trees just 50 feet from her front door cut down on Cold Springs Road. “The cyprus trees were so gorgeous,” she mused. Two trees, one 20 feet tall and one 15 feet tall, had been on what she called “Leprechaun Hill” on her property, a part of her land both she and her sister cherished.

Whoever cut the trees down, Heifner said, used handsaws and disengaged sensor lights.

“Why would they cut down my cyprus trees? If it were Christmastime, I would understand,” she said.

The trees were 10 feet away from a fishing boat full of supplies — worth far more than the trees. Nothing was taken from the boat, and the trees were left on the property, as if gently laid down only a foot or two from the stumps. “I really, really don’t understand,” Heifner said.

Although Deitz’s trees were attacked in the early morning hours, Heifner thought she saw lights outside between 10:30 and 11 p.m. but thought nothing of it, as her motion sensor lights would kick on if anyone got close. Later, she found what appeared to be more than one set of footprints in her yard. Wondering how they would react if they were called, she called the tree cutters “real gutsy.”

“It scares me,” she said.

She said that she and her husband, Larry, were “totally baffled.” The missing trees on Leprechaun Hill will “break my sister’s heart. I don’t understand why someone could be so cruel as to kill a tree. Leprechaun Hill doesn’t look the same.”

Anyone with information on who has been cutting down trees is encouraged to call the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office.

 

Cole Mayer

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