The holidays, for many, are a time of giving.
For others, it’s all about taking.
And for Bill Greenwood, Coeur d’Alene’s Parks and Recreation director, it’s a time for catching.
Greenwood was notified Monday that a 12-foot spruce that adorned a city lot at Cherry Hill Park was cut and stolen by thieves in a pickup truck.
“I guess they decided that we were a Christmas tree farm,” Greenwood said. "They didn’t want to go out and get their own, so they stole one from the public.”
What remains of the Engelman spruce, planted by the city almost 15 years ago, is a white stump and a few limbs like garnish at its base.
The tree was valued at $2,000, Greenwood said.
“This is beyond a misdemeanor offense,” he said.
The stump of the stolen spruce was discovered early Monday by Gabrielle Minor, who dropped off recyclables at a nearby bin.
When she drove around the lot, she noticed the white-topped stump. The spruce had been among a group of three bordering the BMX track parking lot at the park’s northwest corner.
“It looked like a fresh cut,” Minor told The Press.
She called police.
A report was taken and officers visited the site. Greenwood was told that video cameras caught footage of the thieves.
The news pleased him.
“They stole the tree, they didn’t vandalize it,” he said.
So any charges, if they’re forthcoming, will include theft of public property valued at more than $1,000, which is a felony, he said.
Minor, too, is crossing her fingers in the hopes that Coeur d’Alene Police find the perpetrators.
“I’m upset. I’m disappointed,” Minor said. “Especially at this time of year, somebody would be so selfish to do that.”
The cameras that recorded the scene are on poles throughout the park, Greenwood said.
It has been a few years since a city tree was cut and stolen, he said.
“It’s always around Christmas,” Greenwood said. “We lose one every few years. It’s not a regular occurrence.”
Minor wants to bring attention to the incident.
“It was a big, beautiful tree,” she said. “It was probably some hooligans.”