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Author Topic: Stolen trees  (Read 3697 times)

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Offline Slab Slicer

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Stolen trees
« on: June 13, 2018, 04:28:40 PM »
Recently, a family member had some trees stolen from her property. The neighboring lot was being logged, and on the final day, the logger crossed the property line, and removed 3 LARGE red oaks from along the edge of the property. Yes, the property lines were known. IN fact, they nearly dropped the one tree on the pin marking one of the corners. They had already cut tree next to these, that were on the neighboring lot. they purposely waited for the final day to take these trees so they could not be confronted by my family members.
My question is, can the board feet of the tree be determined by the diameter of the stump, and the estimated length where the top was removed? This tree was 70' of clear red oak, and 46" at the stump. The butt log, and the 2nd, was veneer grade. Looking to put a value together for her to pursue legal actions. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
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Offline Riwaka

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #1 on: June 13, 2018, 06:24:08 PM »
What is the correct procedures in the area's jurisdiction in cases like this ?
timber  theft - Timber Theft Home Page    (primer guide in this)
step 1 - registered? tree professional witness makes site visit (verify location of  property boundaries) and takes photos, id's & measures stumps and writes short report on letterhead stationary?

You might require some type of timber (taken from the stumps)  analysis to definitively determine the correct species of tree taken.
Given there are a few tree species referred to as red oaks.
http://timberteam.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/oak.pdf

Obviously have to check if there is relevant tree species data available (for the locality)  stump diameter to diameter at breast height (dbh) conversion charts and then dbh to volume charts or other variations etc. Only ever be an estimate of the volume and then estimates of value at the date the trees were taken etc.

Central Pennsylvania Forestry: Timber theft Awareness

One would need to look up an update of this.

https://www.lambmcerlane.com/articles/what-you-should-know-about-pennsylvania-civil-trial-courts/

Offline teakwood

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 07:51:44 PM »
I'm sorry to hear that.

I don't know the procedure, but first a police report??

If you have the stump and the top where they left it, then of course you can estimate the volume. Or did they haul the whole tree?
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 10:01:32 PM »
Around here when that happens a consulting forester is hired who will measure the stump diameter, note the species, and based on their professional opinion, determine what the grade of the logs were.  Mind you the forester is hired by the landowner so professional opinion tends to lean to the landowner, rightfully so.  The value of the tree is then determined and the offending logger is billed for three times the stumpage value, plus the cost of the forester.  

In some states timber theft will be investigated by law enforcement in cases where the logger appears to be intentionally crossing over lines or the offense is so obvious that criminal negligence appears to be present.  Try checking with your forest service folks to see if anyone will look into it from their perspective but be prepared to have to shell out some money to a forester at first.  
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Offline Novascotiamill

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2018, 11:30:39 PM »
I despise thieves, had two cord of hardwood stolen from my driveway after I blocked it up
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Offline PA_Walnut

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 05:20:32 AM »
neighboring lot was being logged, and on the final day, the logger crossed the property line, and removed 3 LARGE red oaks from along the edge of the property. Yes, the property lines were known.


That's a shame. I would start by: calling the police in order to start a paper trail, confront the neighbor to see if they will side with you (a win) but at least find out the logger's name/info. You seemingly have two issues, if the property was clearly posted: criminal trespass and theft. I read somewhere (not sure if it's PA) that over $300 of timber is a felony act.

I suspect that you have a police report filed, start talking felony and civil damages, the logging outfit will come to the altar of truth and begin talking restitution. Your family member should be clear about what they expect. For me, the price of the timber would not be enough. *DanG shame. >:(
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Offline coxy

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 06:50:06 AM »
is PA the same as NY in 3x the tree value  you should also be able to get damage to the small trees and ground disturbance  also   but must have a forester do the value I was told never to try to estimate the trees your self  I also know of a guy that had a mill and 20a of land and a logger cut 2 trees over the line and he got paid on the 3x of the lumber side not the log side of things      take pics of the tree stumps and the property line  and all trees that got damaged if possible   this is jmop but if the guy is half way decent and willing to work with you (well I guess if he was decent he wouldn't have done it in the first place) get whats coming to you but if hes a jack   then nail them for what ever you can get  hope things work out for the better 

Offline mike_belben

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2018, 06:55:43 AM »
Im not taking the loggers side but they may have been cut by an employee, there is a chance the owner didnt know.  If its a professional outfit, going over to the office or the house and having a talk with his wife might get things started on corrective action.  Mine would make my life hell if i did something like that.



If the logs were that big and were just cut.. They may still be sitting in his yard awaiting a veneer buyer high bid.  


They may be turds too, i have seen trees felled and butt cuts hauled off in the night right from vacant homes for sale.  I live next to two looted, gutted and burned foundations in fact.
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Offline Stephen

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2018, 07:06:28 AM »
Start at the price of replacement. 'They' can dig up and move some impressive trees for the right price. Then settle for a $$ between that and the value of the logs. Don't settle for stumpage price, IMO. This activity need to be discouraged. Be a shame if an expensive harvester burned in the woods!
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Offline Logger RK

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2018, 10:31:12 AM »
It would be a shame if a machine burned & it turned out the owner of the machine didn't know a employee running the machine had mistakenly cut over the line. It would probly be best to talk with the contractor to see how it happened first. 

Offline luvmexfood

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2018, 12:20:17 PM »
Go after him with both barrels. Even if an employee got over the line he should be responsible for making sure his employees knew where to cut. If he was honest about it he would be coming to you saying "we made a mistake". Let's work it out. 

I would say figure a price for the trees and tell him this is what it will take to make it right. But then he will do it again to someone else without learning a lesson. 
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Offline Southside logger

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #11 on: June 14, 2018, 12:25:46 PM »
Be a shame if an expensive harvester burned in the woods!


Of course said harvester probably is insured, and an arson conviction does not bode well for one's future.  Remove the emotion from the equation, as best possible record the actual value of the missing trees, then contact the logging company.  If you have to go the forester / civil recovery route you may also need to hire a surveyor to prove exactly where the line is, you can most likely recover this expense, but you will have to shoulder it.  A calm testing of the waters, with facts in hand, best done by a third party,  will serve as a good litmus test of how this will go down.  
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Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #12 on: June 14, 2018, 12:31:30 PM »
You can contact local law enforcement to start a paper trail but that will likely be a dead end. Then contact a registered professional foresters in your area that is versed in timber trespass, they will know how to proceed from there.

Offline coxy

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #13 on: June 14, 2018, 04:42:09 PM »
Start at the price of replacement. 'They' can dig up and move some impressive trees for the right price. Then settle for a $$ between that and the value of the logs. Don't settle for stumpage price, IMO. This activity need to be discouraged. Be a shame if an expensive harvester burned in the woods!
thats just a stupid thing to say how would you like it if you made a mistake and someone burnt down your house  don't be an   jack  ss and say bull crap like that 

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2018, 10:12:35 PM »
I've been accused of the same exact situation and after the surveyor was done I wasnt in the wrong and the guy who cut his place actually came over the line, then it was all stutters and no apologies. Go directly to the owner with facts, take some pictures, unless its 100ft over the line and easy to see the cops dont care. Sometimes people do make mistakes. 99% of the reputable guys I know will pay you 100% value on the spot if they where wrong, less and less crooks out there, try that route first. 
Threatening someone or their iron is THE LAST thing you want to do, last thing I ever want to see suggested to someone. Even if they outright knowing stole the 3 trees what are you talking ? 2-3k if its slamming wood ? fight it out in court, around here everyone is strapped and threats like that dont end well.  

Offline chevytaHOE5674

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #15 on: June 14, 2018, 10:59:27 PM »
99% of the reputable guys I know will pay you 100% value on the spot if they where wrong
That's could be great if you had intentions of selling the timber anyways and think their price was fair. If you didn't then 100% value just pays you for the lost trees is doesn't compensate you anything for being trespassed on, stolen from, forest losing esthetic value, future growth potential, future seed source,etc.

In my professional opinion getting paid anything less than 2x the value of the trees is a lose.

Offline BargeMonkey

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #16 on: June 14, 2018, 11:29:29 PM »
99% of the reputable guys I know will pay you 100% value on the spot if they where wrong
That's could be great if you had intentions of selling the timber anyways and think their price was fair. If you didn't then 100% value just pays you for the lost trees is doesn't compensate you anything for being trespassed on, stolen from, forest losing esthetic value, future growth potential, future seed source,etc.

In my professional opinion getting paid anything less than 2x the value of the trees is a lose.
I live down the road from a recently deceased man who was NAMED in NYS changing their timber theft laws so I'm pretty up to date on this one, My father's on the NYC watershed forestry board, I know more than I will publicly admit. An accident is one thing, we dont know the facts so im not jumping to defend anyone, but I've also been involved where timber theft occurred and at the end of the day the landowner got 0%. Cant get blood from a stone. If the guy screwed up they will pay up, if he is a crook then figure your not getting a dime anyway. Add up the surveyor cost, lawyer, everything else, if this logger is truly fly by night he will fold anyway, seen it happen alot here. I would rather give a landowner the best route of solution, whatever the outcome is, yes 2x if it's wrong is fair but we dont know the circumstances. 
 

Offline Ianab

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #17 on: June 15, 2018, 03:36:36 AM »
Just the time and stress involved in fighting a court case over 3 trees would make me consider a fair settlement from the logger.

You may never know if it was a genuine mistake or sneaky theft. But at least you get paid, and the logger knows he's been caught out. 

Talk to the neighbour and logger first, From their reaction you can decide which way to proceed.
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Offline Peter Drouin

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #18 on: June 15, 2018, 05:56:25 AM »
  


 i have seen trees felled and butt cuts hauled off in the night right from vacant homes for sale.  I live next to two looted, gutted and burned foundations in fact.
No law down there?


Offline teakwood

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Re: Stolen trees
« Reply #19 on: June 15, 2018, 08:29:23 AM »
It would be interesting to hear back from the OP!
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