Man wakes to find that 41 trees were stolen from his living snowfence

Scott Nelson had received nothing but compliments on the living snow fence planted on his property about three weeks ago – until someone stole over three dozen trees.

Nelson said he awoke on May 13 to find that overnight someone had stolen 41 of 485 white spruces planted on his property at the corner of County?Road 10 and Conces­sion 4, southwest of Moore­field.

“It was heart wrenching,” he said of his reaction.

The trees, which measure two to three feet high, were planted in cooperation with the Grand River Conservation?Auth­ority in late April as part of a living snow fence to help improve winter road conditions. Nelson said Wellington County officials were so impressed with his plan, the county provided almost 100% funding for the project.

Since the planting, Nelson said he has had nothing but compliments on the trees, with several passersby even stopping to admire the project and to comment on how bad the intersection can get in the winter.

There are now 41 holes where there used to be trees and tracks leading from the road to the tree line, where it appears the trees were ripped out and loaded into some sort of vehicle.

Nelson said the crime is pretty senseless, considering the county’s Green Legacy pro­gram annually offers trees for free to county residents.

Nelson estimated the value of the stolen trees to be around $1,100 to $1,200. He has contacted the police to report the theft and has also talked to GRCA officials about the possibility of replacing the stolen spruces.

OPP?Constable Mark Cloes said theft of living trees is actually more common than people might think, although he did add that 41 trees at once is a large amount.

He said thieves have been known to take up to a dozen trees from local woodlots, ex­pecting that no one will notice.

“But technically, they’re stealing,” Cloes said.

Cloes sympathizes with anyone who has trees stolen from the ground, highlighting the time, effort and cost re­quired to replace them.

He said if residents see any suspicious activities – including the possible planting of the 41 stolen spruces – they can call police.

Anyone with information can contact the OPP at 519-323-3130 or Crime Stoppers at 519-222-8477.