Pine Cones Lead to Christmas Tree Suspect
Sunday, January 02, 2005
WINNIPEG, Manitoba - It didn't take Winnipeg police long to solve the great Christmas tree heist - a trail of pine cones from the scene of the crime led directly to a suspect's living room.
"It's got to be the dumbest crime of the century," apartment caretaker Cindy Peterson said Wednesday. "You could see where they dragged it into the house."
The Yuletide theft happened early Dec. 23 when someone cut down an 18-foot blue spruce from in front of Peterson's apartment building. The tree wasn't sawed at the base of the trunk, but about six feet up.
Peterson said she only noticed the tree had been lopped off when she went out to shovel the walk.
"A neighbour asked me if I couldn't afford a real tree," she said. "She pointed and I looked and thought, `What the ... ?"
Peterson and neighbour Ralph Mehmedov went to investigate and found a small cedar tree apparently discarded in favor of the larger spruce. A trail of pine cones, needles and broken limbs led directly to a residence across the street.
Police questioned the 22-year-old occupant, who told them he had bought the tree from an unknown door-to-door tree salesman for $5.
The man was charged with possession of stolen goods and released on a promise to appear in court at a later date.