STRONGSVILLE, Ohio (WJW)– A brother and sister pleaded guilty to cutting down and selling an over-200-year-old black walnut tree from the Cleveland Metroparks Mill Stream Run Reservation.
Todd Jones, 57, and Laurel, Hoffman, 54, were sentenced to six months in Cuyahoga County jail, which was suspended, and ordered to pay $20,000 in restitution for one count of theft.
“The forests of our Emerald Necklace are to be conserved for generations,” said Jennifer Grieser, Cleveland Metroparks director of natural resources, in a news release on Thursday. “While this more than 200-year-old tree cannot be replaced, thanks to the county prosecutor’s office the restitution from this case will support tree plantings for the future.”
The Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office said the siblings contracted a company to cut down the tree, which is 7 feet from Jones’ property line in Strongsville. Jones assured the company the tree was on his property and not the park’s, prosecutors said. They also sold the wood for $2,000.
The Cleveland Metroparks police found the scene on Sept. 25. There was also damage to the surrounding area, including recently-planted saplings. The estimated damage was worth more than $128,000.