Man damages trees because they blocked his view

July 9, 2008 4:59:32 AM PDT
Erie police have charged a man with fatally slicing the trunks of two large maple trees because they blocked the view of picturesque Presque Isle Bay from a rental property he owns.

Eighty-three-year-old Paul Brugger is charged with two counts of criminal mischief for damaging the city-owned trees. The trees were valued at around $15,000. The charges are felonies because the value of each tree exceeded $5,000.

Brugger declined comment Tuesday.

The trees were damaged by slicing around their bases, a process known as "girdling." The damage cuts off the flow of nutrients to the tree, usually killing it within a few years.

Authorities say two witnesses saw Brugger take a chain saw to the trees. Officials plan to replace the trees.