Person who cut down, stole pine trees ‘breaks spirit of Christmas,’ victim says

When the Fetters family awoke and realized pine trees in the front yard of their Dayton home had been cut down and stolen, they said it was heart breaking.

Brian Fetters said two of the 30 pine trees he planted in his front yard in Dayton were removed sometime Friday night into early Saturday morning.

He said he assumes someone did it to get a free Christmas tree.

“Christmas season is about giving, it’s about receiving, and also your family,” Fetters said. “Somebody who just wants to steal and thieve, it just breaks the spirit of Christmas. This is just unreal somebody would do something like this.”

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Fetters said what makes it even more disheartening for his family is that if someone was in such need of a Christmas tree, he said he’d gladly buy them one for their home.

He said it will cost thousands of dollars to replace the two trees, which stood at 6 feet to 7 feet.

Fetters said he’s looked at trees of similar size and they cost $350 to $400. Then he’d have to likely rent equipment to dig up the roots of the old trees before he could plant the new ones.

He also has an irrigation system installed around each tree to help keep them watered in case of a drought. His yard is a point of pride and he said he often gets compliments from neighbors and strangers.

“(They) will stop us and say ‘we love your yard,’” he said. “It just broke our heart and it still is breaking our heart that somebody will do this.”

Fetters planted the trees five years ago, in part to help block noise coming from traffic on Old Troy Pike.

The two trees cut down were not next to each other, so Fetters said he assumes whoever took the trees had been scoping out the property for specific trees.

Fetters said he filed a report with Dayton police and a detective warned him that whoever took the trees could come back later to take more. Fetters said he's not sure what more he can reasonably do to try and deter future thefts, other than fill out a report with police and ask them to have more patrols in the area.

Until he replaces the trees, he will be left with two stumps, both painful reminders of the heartbreaking theft a month before Christmas.