Wisconsin police seek 'conifer crook' who stole rare tree

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Police in Wisconsin are stumped over who would steal a tree from the flagship branch of the state university.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison has logged its loss at $13,000 or more.

A rare, 25-foot  Algonquin pillar Swiss mountain pine tree was cut down and stolen from the university’s arboretum property sometime between Nov. 5 and 9, according to the UW-Madison Police Department.

Police are looking for whoever cut down and stole a tree from a university arboretum. (UW-Madison Police Department)

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The tree was planted in 1988 about 30 yards from a campus parking lot, police said in a Facebook post Thursday.

The thief or thieves also cut a 12-foot section from the top of another nearby tree, a compact white fir planted in 1981, according to police. For some reason, they left that cut section behind.

Commenters on the department’s Facebook post were angered and confused by the theft.

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“Unbelievable,” one wrote.

“People are awful,” added another.

A twin tree of the Algonquin pillar Swiss mountain pine that was located right next to it was unharmed, police said.

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The arboretum’s visitor center has been closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, but its 17 miles of trails have remained open and are popular with local walkers, runners and cyclists.

Authorities believe someone may be able to help them identify whomever was responsible because of the manpower involved in taking down a tree of that size. Now, they're urging anyone with information to reach out, or contact the Madison Area Crime Stoppers.

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