Brother And Sister Charged After Cutting Down Century-Old Tree

This is not the tree referenced in the story. (Photo by JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Jack Kerley Contributor
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A brother and sister have been charged with fourth degree felonies after cutting down and stealing a nearly $30,000 Black Walnut Tree in an Ohio reservation that was over a century old, according to reports.

Todd Jones, 56, and Laurel Hoffman, 54, have been charged with grand theft and falsification, reported Tuesday.

Jones and Hoffman believed the tree was on their property, adjacent to the Mill Stream Run Reservation in Cleveland, Ohio, and, according to, did not realize that the tree sat on reservation land.

“This is so ridiculous that they’re doing this,” Jones said. “This is insane. There was no ill intent.”

Investigations began after the Director of Natural Resources for Cleveland Metropark, Jennifer Grieser, found the tree freshly cut back in Sept. 2021, Fox 8 reported.

Jones and Hoffman’s family believed that, during 36 years of property ownership, the tree belonged to their family after their father constantly called the tree his, Newsweek reported.

Jones had allegedly told the police that he never lived on the property but acquired it from his father and said that he didn’t want a big investigation because it wasn’t the “crime of the century,” Newsweek reported.

The Black Walnut Tree was one of the largest in the state, measuring 207 inches, with the two largest measuring 227 and 211 inches, according to The 207 inch tree was estimated to be worth $28,814 according to park officials with damage done to freshly planted saplings totaling $102,909, according to police reports obtained by

“Any species that is 5.5 feet in diameter, we just don’t get trees that are growing that tall and that are that old, other than cottonwood trees,” Grieser told “We need to be doing everything we can to protect trees, especially large mature trees like this one.”

Police reports said that the tree sat roughly eight feet from Jones’ property line on a plot acquired by Cleveland Metropark last year, according to

Jones said that he’s having a hard time due to his struggling small business and expensive care for his disabled son, reported.

Jones accused Cleveland Metropark of trying to buy his property for well under property value in 2021 and said he believes this could be a tactic to force his hand and is looking for a lawyer to sue Cleveland Metropark, reported.