Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Burl Burglar Bagged... Story at 10

My last post showing a huge burl on a huge Atascadero, CA valley oak prompted Oak Watch reader Walter to send this Boston Globe link* to a story about a series of burl thefts from Boston area parks.

Norm Helie is a plant and soil scientist hired by the Friends of the Fenway Victory Gardens to keep the garden healthy.  He heard the sound of a chainsaw coming from the woods, went to check it out, and saw two dudes standing over an amputated red oak burl - and probably looking more than a bit guilty.  He walked away so as to not become the main character in a really bad and stupid horror movie, and called 911.

Here's a tip for all you wannabe burl thieves out there:  When stealing valuable oak burls be sure to do so in broad daylight, and be sure to be seen hauling the burls (and your chainsaw of course) off to your apartment immediately across the street.  This saves a lot of time and trouble for the police in locating and questioning you.  It is a courtesy they really appreciate.

Under what I am sure was intense questioning burl burglar Michael Scanlon admitted to taking the burls (the ones he was seen by God and everyone taking) but said the others were dropped off at his apartment by a friend.  A friend whose name escaped him at the moment.  Right.

I was of course shocked to learn that the dude who was with Scanlon at the time was arrested on unrelated drug possession charges.  

The story reminds me a bit of a story I heard about 18 years ago of a gang of black walnut tree thieves in Indiana.  The group stole dozens of veneer grade black walnut trees, some valued at more than $10,000.  They always left behind a pile of empty Budweiser cans.  They were caught returning to the scene of a crime to collect the cans for recycling.

OK, I made that last part up.  But the story of the Budweiser Gang is very true.  They were eventually caught, but I can't remember (and even worse can't Google) how.  I'm sure they did something equally dumb.

Only to have another idiot do the same thing.

* This Boston Globe story is worth much less than it was a few days ago.  The newspaper itself sold for $1.1 billion not that many years ago.  The paper plus a number of other affiliated companies/publications was purchased by Jeff Amazon.com Bezos yesterday for a paltry $70 million (which he probably found loose in the pocket of his spare jeans).  He's mostly buying it for the purpose of data mining online Boston Globe readers.  Sign o' the times.  Said the blogger.

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