Chainsaw Bandit

Friday, June 3, 2011 - 1:30pm

Someone is hacking up Savannah, Georgia's ancient trees.

Some of Savannah, Georgia's most prized trees are being targeted by a chainsaw bandit.

Jerry Fleming, Savannah's director of Parks, Trees and Cemeteries says the trees being targeted have burls or growths on the side of them.

"It makes for very interesting wood that's highly desirable by woodcarvers and artists that use them for various things," he explains.

It's also extremely bad for the trees.

"This is very damaging to a tree," Fleming says. "It's very unsightly and it's going to cause structural hazards in the trunk of the tree eventually, and the tree is going to need to come down."

Many of the trees targeted will have to be cut down.

Savannah Metro Police Corporal Tracy Walden says they're taking these acts of vandalism seriously.

"We can charge a felony charge with destruction of government property because this is owned by the city and the citizens of Savannah, and we can also charge them with a city ordinance violation for destruction of property and the city can seek compensation for damage, repair, removal anything that happens from damage to the tree," she says.

Sadly, Fleming says there is no way to save the damaged trees.

"There are no man made substances that are going to be effective in keeping decay out of the tree. In fact most substances are going to cause more harm than good," he explains.

His only hope is to catch the person responsible.

Police say the suspect is described as a white, tall, thin man in his 20s driving a late model blue Mustang.

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