Ohio Siblings Charged With 2 Felonies for Allegedly Felling 250-Year-Old Walnut Tree

Black Walnut Tree
Black walnut tree.Getty Stock

A brother and sister in Ohio have been charged with felony theft after authorities say they cut down a centuries-old tree and sold the lumber for profit.

A brother and sister in Ohio face felony charges for allegedly chopping down a massive walnut tree on protected land and selling the lumber for profit, according to authorities. 

Todd Jones, 56, and Laurel Hoffman, 54, are accused of illegally felling a black walnut estimated to be more than 250 years old in a Cleveland suburb.

The siblings each face two felony counts of grand theft and falsification. They allegedly hired a team to cut down the tree and saw it into lumber. They allegedly sold the wood for $2,000, investigators said. 

The brother and sister told the The Cleveland Plain Dealer they believed the oak, estimated to be worth $28,000, was on their land.

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

Black walnuts are revered for the quality of their timber, which is used for musical instruments and fine furniture.

Investigators determined that the tree, which was cut down in September, was seven feet from the siblings' property line, and was rooted in land owned by Cleveland Metroparks.

Hoffman and Jones were charged on Dec. 29. Their arraignments are scheduled for Thursday.

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