A news blog for Seattle's Phinney Ridge and Greenwood neighborhoods


Thief cuts down 10-foot tree in front of Phinney home

December 12th, 2012 · Comments

Elizabeth and John tell us that someone cut down one of their front yard trees sometime during the night.

Today, December 12, we walked outside our home and discovered that our highly prized, beautiful and unique Mt Hood hemlock has been cut down and removed, probably for someone’s Christmas tree.

We live just off Greenwood Ave N and planted the tree some 10 years ago where it grew to over 10 feet high while still retaining a snow shedding width of probably not more than a few feet. It was planted just back from our retaining wall next to the sidewalk and was apparently within easy reach for someone standing on the sidewalk below with a saw to cut it down.

Despite being at home during the hours of darkness when this happened and having our bedroom almost directly above, we did not hear anything to alarm us.

This is, therefore, a heads up that, besides those types who will steal your Christmas packages off your porch, there are even crueler more heartless “people” (I use the term “people” loosely) who will cut down and steal a tree off your property; one that you have loved, nourished, and treasured for many years to help celebrate their twisted idea of the Christmas/Hanukah/Holiday season.

Any tips on the criminals involved in this will be appreciated.

Here’s what the tree looked like.

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  1. phinneyfun says:

    Wow. I don’t know how the creeps that did this could ever sit beside that tree and celebrate Christmas, they haven’t a clue what the holiday is supposed to be about. I’m sorry this happened to you.

  2. Block Watcher says:

    The thieves are useless stupid people with no consciousness, morals, ethics or values. They usually hit the arboretum this time of year for trees along with stealing kids toys, copper wire, food bank supplies and anything else that isn’t nailed down. All they care about is getting some smokes, booze and dope.

  3. jmpr says:

    This just breaks my heart. How on earth could anyone enjoy a holiday tree that was stolen like this right out of someone’s yard? I guess they’ve obviously never loved or nurtured anything themselves. I am so sorry for you, and so disheartened about how low some people have sunk.

  4. berner says:

    Pathetic. And though we’d all like to believe everyone in our neighborhood respects one another, there are those–obviously–who don’t. So sorry. And I bet the neighborhood would be more than happy to dedicate a new tree . . .

  5. Whopper says:

    Merry Tweaker Christmas!

  6. sezdog says:

    That’s heartbreaking! I’m so sorry.

  7. Stupid Hippie says:

    I blame the 1%!

  8. Block Watcher says:

    I blame the lazy bums of Phinneywood.

  9. Jeff says:

    Move away from the street? Just sayin

  10. What the hell? says:

    I am so sorry. That is just heartless and awful. What a beautiful tree, too.

  11. Wendy says:


    I bet it will look better with lights than it does in that photo.

    How very Christian of you to suggest that the people who did this are not even people. That is a Jesus quote, right?

  12. Richie says:

    Quick, somebody call a WAAAAH-mubulance!!

    The “victims” sound anti-Semitic.

  13. Block Watcher says:

    Watch out for the jolly bums crossing Aurora Ave. or the zombie methheads at 87th and Greenwood.

  14. Sally says:

    “Move away from the street? Just sayin”

    “How very Christian of you to suggest that the people who did this are not even people. That is a Jesus quote, right?”

    “The “victims” sound anti-Semitic.”


  15. Dawn says:

    I was just thinking the same thing, Sally.

    WOW, people. Just… WOW.

    Looks like Santa needs to gift some folks on here a little empathy this holiday season.

  16. Saul Rosen says:

    Why do you bring up Hanukkah regarding a stolen Christmas tree?

    To blame the Jews?

    Have not we been blamed for enough?

    It is hard to feel sorry for people exhibiting such bigotry.

  17. Violet says:

    I also found it odd and disturbing that the complainer would mention Hanukah.

    They seem to think, oh, a Christian person could not have stolen the tree so maybe it was a Jewish person. And I agree with the comments that their response is not what Jesus would have preached.

    Karma, I suppose. Well I hope the tree is enjoyed by the people who have it now. They are likely more deserving.

  18. jmpr says:

    I have a friend who is Jewish and so of course celebrates Hanukkah. She also celebrates Christmas, though obviously she is not a Christian.
    She does the tree, the decorations and the whole bit. She simply loves holidays!
    I think the people who had their tree stolen were trying to be politically correct in not identifying any particular segment of people and didn’t mean any disrespect to anyone’s faith or beliefs.

  19. Sally says:

    jmpr, your comment is entirely too reasonable. Is this a mistake?

  20. Block Watcher says:

    It could have been removed as a typical UW fraternity prank or a beaver from Green Lake.

  21. PhinneyRidgian says:

    This is one disgusting display of comments to people who are distraught at having their yard vandalized.

    A little compassion, people?

  22. Phinneyman says:

    I’m not sure it’s fair to attack the victim here. The point isn’t that this culprit celebrates some holiday. The victim doesn’t know and is just trying to make a point. The point is that no matter what the purpose was, it was wrong. I would hope we can all agree on that. Anyone who would go so far as to cut down a tree on someone else’s property to permanently deprive the owner of it deserves to be caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Thieves use the cover of darkness to steal things, so please remember to look out for your neighbors especially at night. If in doubt please call the police. One neighbor caught a thief trying to steal his car, called the police immediately, and the police caught the thieves red-handed in the car! We can’t stop every crime, but helping each other works better than judging each other on Phinneywood.

    Elizabeth and John- I know it will take time to deal with feeling violated, but planting a new Hemlock in the spring may help you deal with the loss, after some time has passed.

  23. Phinneyman says:

    I wish you both the best. Most of us sympathize with you and hope the culprit gets caught somehow.

  24. phinneyfun says:

    Wow, I’m newly astonished at just how stupid people can be, between the trolls who post on anything just to get a rise out of people (ho-hum, Stupid Hippie, with your repeated 1 % joke…man, but you’re dull) and Richie & Co. of the knee-jerk “I see anti-semitism everywhere” crew (are you for real, or straight out of a Woody Allen film?) and Wendy with your stupid joke about the tree’s appearance….

    So I guess if it’d been a stolen car, the likes of you who think the victims deserve quotation marks (“victims,” per the overflowing with empathy Wendy, and “waaah,” dear Richie) might change your mind? But a tree (which, if you can’t wrap your mind around emotion and empathy, does have a dollar value)–well, that just deserves sarcasm.

    I feel doubly sorry for the property owners now. In trying to include all holidays they get labeled anti-Semitic; if they’d only stipulated Christmas then the Phinney crowd would be screaming they were anti-Christian…

    Clearly, it was taken by a thief who wanted a free tree (or to make some booze and drug money by selling it) who would just as happily bash your car window to bits and steal your laptop or spare change. I really doubt it was stolen by a poor but honest salt-of-the-Earth human who just wanted the Little Match Girl to have one bright glowing Christmas.

  25. So sorry about the theft. Hope you don’t let it ruin your holiday spirit and are able to plant a replacement in the Spring that brings you just as much joy.

    The comment string on this story makes me wish that Phinneywood.com would consider requiring people to actually identify themselves when they comment. I think the stories on this blog are great community builders but I think the people posting in ways that they might never actually talk to their neighbors really takes away from the blogs message and purpose.

  26. Gin says:

    So many posters are starting to sound like a bunch of trolls. Be compassionate, people. And if you can’t do that, don’t post. Simple.

  27. Feat of Clay says:

    Elizabeth & John. will your home owners insurance cover the damage? Here is a link to where you could buy a replacement 10year old Mt. Hood Cedar. http://www.stanleyandsons.com/online_catalog.cfm?page=102. You could also put a motion sensor at the base. Good luck!

  28. Layne says:

    Didn’t they make Socrates drink hemlock? You’re well good to have that poisonous thing far away from you!!!


  29. Mark says:

    Darn, what a bummer to lose such a nice tree.

    I can not top the tree story but some yahoo came by last night and cut all of our lights off the gate and fence. All they left was the green cord that separated the lights in many pieces. Bastards!!!!!

    A neighbor said the same thing happened to a neighbor on the next block. We are at 83rd and 6th.

  30. Kathy says:

    So sorry for your loss. All of us who have been robbed know the feeling of violation. Take some consolation in knowing that many of us feel sadness at this nonsensical act.

  31. Rob H says:

    I love hemlocks-I have quite a collection, but I’ve read that they don’t make good Christmas trees-the needles drop very quickly.

  32. gozer says:

    lots of weird people out there (tree thief?) and in here (strange trolls).

  33. Grunenwald says:

    Very sorry about the tree. I hope you can let go of the negative emotions and move forward positively.

    I would like to remind those with poor manners that your online anonymity is illusory. Every rude comment you’ve made is being archived for eternity and, unless you are a “hacker ninja behind seven proxies” will forever be easily traceable to your exact machine via your ISP, utility payments, online banking or shopping, anything you’ve ever done intentionally or inadvertantly (even only once) online with your real name or real location on that machine.

    The day is fast approaching when everything you ever wrote online “anonymously” will be linked to your real name. Just like all the former employers and addresses on your credit report, all your online usernames will be listed. Everyone will have some embarrassing crumbs in their data trail. Some, much more so than others. I certainly wouldn’t hire someone who says nasty things when he/she thinks they can get away with it. After all, what is your true nature?

  34. Neighbs says:

    I’m so sorry a thief took your tree! Did your neighbors happen to see/hear anything? This is an awfully brazen (and bizarre!) act for a thief to undertake and hopefully the jerks will be found.