Campus News

Tree theft: $13,000 tree stolen from UW Arboretum

Image By: Courtesy of UW-Madison Police Department

The UW-Madison Police Department (UWPD) is stumped after a rare 25-foot tall Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain Pine Tree was cut down and taken from the UW Arboretum sometime between Nov. 5 and Nov. 9, 2020. Police are referring to it as the “Pine Crime”. 

The tree, worth an estimated $13,000, was planted in 1988 next to a tree of the same kind, which was deemed oak-y and leaf-ed unharmed in the incident. It was located about 30 yards away from Arboretum Drive, east of the Wingra Springs Lot. 

“Typically in a theft case, if [we’re] able to recover a stolen item, it would go back to the rightful owner,” UWPD Director of Communications Marc Lovicott said. “In this case, that would be the Arboretum. It’s unclear what they would do with the tree, since it has been cut down and permanently damaged.”

Another large tree in the UW Arboretum, a Compact White Fir planted in 1981, also had a 12 foot section cut off of it, which wood be left behind at the scene. 

Because of the effort it would take to maneuver such a tree, UWPD noted in a release that this scenario is “rare and unusual.” 

UWPD is working treemendously hard to get to the root of the problem, and is looking for any witnesses who may have seen the large tree being transported out of the UW Arboretum. Individuals with any information are encouraged to branch out to UWPD at 608-264-2677 or at their anonymous Madison Area Crime Stoppers line at 608-266-6014 or online.

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