STOLEN TREE, need your help

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Oct 06, 2011 12:40 pm

Ian Young wrote:Fantastic news, Just got my day off to a great start :-) What does a grand theft felony usually result in in the US?

In the US crime and punishment for non-Federal offinses vary by State. Here is a table that shows possible punishment for a felony in Florida taken from http://www.crimeandpunishment.net/FL/

Felony Conviction
A Felon can Not own a gun, vote, sit on jury & may not be able to be employed in a job, which requires a State License.

Felony, (Capital Felony)
Death or Life without Parole

Felony, (Life Felony)
Not Punishable by Death But Life without Parole

Felony, (1st Degree Felony)
Up to $10,000 Fine &/or Up to 30 Yrs Pen.

Felony, (2nd Degree Felony)
Up to $10,000 Fine &/or Up to 15 Yrs Pen.

Felony, (3rd Degree Felony)
UP to $5000 Fine &/or Up to 5 Yrs Pen.

Grand Larceny
(over $300)
Felony, Up to $5000 Fine &/or Up to 5 Years Pen.


This is probably a 3rd degree felony or maybe Grand Larceny which we will probably plea bargain down to some sort of misdemeanor. Depends on his record, and his lawyer. I'm guessing it will take a while to hear in court but in the end he will get no jail time. Still it will be on his rap sheet and maybe deter other thieves or hopefully not encourage more copycat crimes if the thieves think bonsai are worth stealing. If its Grand Larceny it will be interesting to see if they have to value the bonsai as part of the case as the value of the item stolen affects the punishment. Anyone want to be an expert witness for the prosecutor?

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STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  The Lad on Thu Oct 06, 2011 1:35 pm


Lee County Sheriff's Deputies Recovered The Stolen Bonsai Arrangement Deserves A PAT On The Back, its just sad to see that Bonsai Trees are NOT Immune to thief from IDIOTS

Nice to hear a Fantastic Result at long last as so many Bonsai Trees with other items have gone missing not to be heard of again

Is there No Place safe in our WORLD from thieves

Take care

Jim thelad thumbs up Bagpiper thumbs up Bagpiper

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  EdMerc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:00 pm

That's AWESOME!!!

Oh man, I needed that.

Thanks for keeping us posted Dorothy.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  EdMerc on Thu Oct 06, 2011 2:06 pm

Just in case you missed it...

[img][/img]

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:37 pm

I as just thinking - that's the smoke you see- anyway what if this guy was not caught. Would he be able to show this tree in the future?

Now what is the difference between this guy taking a tree from a show and a person taking a tree from the ground without permission? Should the tree taken from the ground without permission be allowed to be shown?


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STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  The Lad on Thu Oct 06, 2011 6:51 pm

Rob

A very interesting point and one we all may not agree on as some my be Neutral in their answer

That.s a difficult one to prove unless the person who took the Tree without permission tells you or someone else how he/she came in possession of the Bonsai Tree or Trees But as far as I am concerned the answer is No to Both

then theres the other QUESTION if you werE told would you let the organizers know it was a stolen or NON PERMISSION YAMADORI TREE

Jim thelad


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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:00 pm

The Lad wrote:Rob

A very interesting point and one we all may not agree on as some my be Neutral in their answer

That.s a difficult one to prove unless the person who took the Tree without permission tells you or someone else how he/she came in possession of the Bonsai Tree or Trees But as far as I am concerned the answer is No to Both

then theres the other QUESTION if you werE told would you let the organizers know it was a stolen or NON PERMISSION YAMADORI TREE

Jim thelad


Jim - could this be the dirty secret of bonsai?
I wonder what percent of collected trees shown are stolen.


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STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  The Lad on Thu Oct 06, 2011 7:11 pm

Rob

You maybe could stir up a Hornets nest here

Is honesty the BEST POLICY in the Bonsai World !!! I would say a BIG YES BUT I am only a Beginner


Wonder if its possible to run a POL on that QUESTION !!!! asking who knows what and what they would do and NOT WHAT WE ALL KNOW WE SHOULD DO

Jim thelad

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  DaveV. on Thu Oct 06, 2011 11:45 pm

I don't think a collected tree is a bonsai until it is styled and growing successfully in a bonsai pot. A tree just dug from the ground is not a bonsai IMO.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  peter keane on Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:54 am

Glad the tree is back. What a dope!

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:46 am

Rob Kempinski wrote:I as just thinking - that's the smoke you see- anyway what if this guy was not caught. Would he be able to show this tree in the future?

Now what is the difference between this guy taking a tree from a show and a person taking a tree from the ground without permission? Should the tree taken from the ground without permission be allowed to be shown?



Not so Long time ago I asked the same question here in IBC. and I was crucified. hehehe.
...now, as a follow up question ( which I am admittedly guilty of Embarassed ), is buying an illegally dug yamadori a crime too, Under anti fencing law (buying and using stolen goods). The guy caught in the CCTV then caught by the cops later is not just so lucky...because in the wild there is no CCTV, that's the difference. and another difference I think if we compare it is that the stolen trees/bonsais were owned by a single person...the yamadoris were owned by the state and the whole nation.

I am retreating in my bunker now...there is still a room for one guy Rob. Suspect

regards,
jun Smile

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  will baddeley on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:04 am

Hello Jun. I do not think you are alone in having trees with a dubious history amongst your collection. I think I have in mine but as they have passed through several hands before reaching mine, it is difficult to tell or prove.
At this stage, the tree cannot be replaced. Fortunately I know where the rest of my trees came from as I collected them myself and from more sustainable environments.
I'm so glad the thief has been caught but doubt the courts will come down very hard on him (if UK courts are anything to go by). Over here he would probably get fined and a community sevice order.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:18 am

DaveV. wrote:I don't think a collected tree is a bonsai until it is styled and growing successfully in a bonsai pot. A tree just dug from the ground is not a bonsai IMO.
Hi Dave, I am trying to understand your point. Are you saying a tree taken from the ground without permission and then worked into a bonsai is ok to display without consideration of its past as a stolen good.
Would this be similar to a person stealing a raw gold nugget, melting it down and making jewelery and then selling/displaying it in a gallery legally? Of did I miss something in your post?

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:32 am

jun wrote:
Rob Kempinski wrote:I as just thinking - that's the smoke you see- anyway what if this guy was not caught. Would he be able to show this tree in the future?

Now what is the difference between this guy taking a tree from a show and a person taking a tree from the ground without permission? Should the tree taken from the ground without permission be allowed to be shown?



Not so Long time ago I asked the same question here in IBC. and I was crucified. hehehe.
...now, as a follow up question ( which I am admittedly guilty of Embarassed ), is buying an illegally dug yamadori a crime too, Under anti fencing law (buying and using stolen goods). The guy caught in the CCTV then caught by the cops later is not just so lucky...because in the wild there is no CCTV, that's the difference. and another difference I think if we compare it is that the stolen trees/bonsais were owned by a single person...the yamadoris were owned by the state and the whole nation.

I am retreating in my bunker now...there is still a room for one guy Rob. Suspect

regards,
jun Smile

Jun, it's a thorny question. Stolen is stolen and in the US possession of stolen goods is a crime. Laws vary by region/country so this may not be the case everywhere. As Will says when trees get sold and resold the pedigree gets lost and the origin becomes unknown. But certainly having a buyer willing to buy stolen trees creates a supply side force that will perpetrate continued crimes.
How to prevent it I have no idea but it is an ethical dilemma.
It is clear however that taking trees from the wild does deplete the resource. Asian countries that have collected trees longer than in the west have had their governments crack down on tree collecting due to depredation (Japan, Taiwan. Philippines
and even China).

The rumors floating around Florida is this guy was a bonsai lover and one of his neighbors made a tip just hearing the story and knowing he was a bonsai lover. Law enforcement was motiviated to solve the crime due to political connections (Florida has the weird law of electing sherrifs by popular election so sherrifs are also politicians) and media interest in the story and hence they put significant resources on the case. The detectives (many of them) did some leg work to match names on bonsai raffle tickets from the show to anonymous tips and that's how they found the guy. The rumor is the CCTV did not play a major role other than to generate buzz. The finger prints on his raffle ticket came back negative so the guy probably has no police record. I don't see jail time for him other than time already served post arrest.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  marcus watts on Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:50 am

to own trees stolen from the wild............it comes down to personal ethics I guess. If you find a suitable SINGLE tree yourself permission can usually be obtained - especially as you will probably find it many months before it is time to dig it up. Buying illegally collected trees is far worse - you end up still having a plant wrongly removed from the wild in your collection and you've funded a criminal act and individuals 'cash'? illegal earnings - it makes the 'yamadori collector' no better than a drug dealer really - worse in some ways as the profit margin will be higher

areas of european mountain ranges are being thoughtlessly destroyed for greed with a huge number of very old pines being removed - and many are poor material as well that dont even look that good as bonsai (different trunk /same top scenario, or worse still "what can i do with that" type of material). This will continue all the time people are willing to pay a lot for the raw material of unknown origin, or worse still to pay even more money to buy a tree illegally collected and ready styled, as they want to own the finished image without having the skill to make it themselves. This leads to many many dead and ruined yamadori in future years.

wild salmon netters and wild bass fishermen are issued numbered tags that have to be attached to the individual fish before sale - the tag must remain on the fish until it is sold to the final owner or it is illegal. All wild fish must be tagged, when the tags are gone for the year no more can be openly collected and sold. It could work but would need cooperation and it would need regions to understand the value of their natural resources..


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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  fiona on Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:08 am

The trading on of anything obtained illegally - bonsai, garden plants, rare animals, the list goes on - will always happen and will not stop unless quite simply the buyers stop buying. It is just another example of supply and demand and, sadly, as subject to greed overcoming ethics as many other activities. As individuals we can can only do so much to prevent it through not buying dubious trees ourselves, or through actively discouraging illegal digging whether that's on here or at our clubs and exhibitions and then hoping that stronger bodies can come in and back up our efforts with the real power. It is actually quite encouraging to see state/national/international intervention but if it is not followed up by prosecutions and stronger penalties then it is little other than a toothless tiger.



Got more to say but sadly I must go to that great inconvenience called work.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Guest on Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:10 am




marcus watts wrote:to own trees stolen from the wild............it comes down to personal ethics I guess. If you find a suitable SINGLE tree yourself permission can usually be obtained - especially as you will probably find it many months before it is time to dig it up. Buying illegally collected trees is far worse - you end up still having a plant wrongly removed from the wild in your collection and you've funded a criminal act and individuals 'cash'? illegal earnings - it makes the 'yamadori collector' no better than a drug dealer really - worse in some ways as the profit margin will be higher

areas of european mountain ranges are being thoughtlessly destroyed for greed with a huge number of very old pines being removed - and many are poor material as well that dont even look that good as bonsai (different trunk /same top scenario, or worse still "what can i do with that" type of material). This will continue all the time people are willing to pay a lot for the raw material of unknown origin, or worse still to pay even more money to buy a tree illegally collected and ready styled, as they want to own the finished image without having the skill to make it themselves. This leads to many many dead and ruined yamadori in future years.

wild salmon netters and wild bass fishermen are issued numbered tags that have to be attached to the individual fish before sale - the tag must remain on the fish until it is sold to the final owner or it is illegal. All wild fish must be tagged, when the tags are gone for the year no more can be openly collected and sold. It could work but would need cooperation and it would need regions to understand the value of their natural resources..



YUP!
Illegal digger of yamadori---"...no better than drug dealer": buyer of illegally dug material material---bonsai addict ( I am not saying I am not).. Makes sense.
..And in most cases people are in the state of denial. Rolling Eyes
..Transfer of illegally acquired trees,---the same as addict not knowing who the drug dealer was...

Sorry guys, I am just trying to equate things to Marcus premise.

Probably like hunting or fishing...Quotas should be given to bonsai material/yamadori hunter to be to be issued and obtained ones every year during "hunting season together with some rules attached to it... like type of trees and aged of trees and size.

regards,
jun Smile



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STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  The Lad on Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:39 am


Another thing are the Bonsai Trees sometimes maybe Stolen for the d]]Bonsai Pot[/b] its seems a DAFT QUESTION ( just curious ) as to me it would be a lot easier to find the Tree than a Valuable Signed Bonsai Pot

Take care

Jim thelad



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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 07, 2011 1:20 pm

marcus watts wrote:to own trees stolen from the wild............it comes down to personal ethics I guess. If you find a suitable SINGLE tree yourself permission can usually be obtained - especially as you will probably find it many months before it is time to dig it up. Buying illegally collected trees is far worse - you end up still having a plant wrongly removed from the wild in your collection and you've funded a criminal act and individuals 'cash'? illegal earnings - it makes the 'yamadori collector' no better than a drug dealer really - worse in some ways as the profit margin will be higher

areas of european mountain ranges are being thoughtlessly destroyed for greed with a huge number of very old pines being removed - and many are poor material as well that dont even look that good as bonsai (different trunk /same top scenario, or worse still "what can i do with that" type of material). This will continue all the time people are willing to pay a lot for the raw material of unknown origin, or worse still to pay even more money to buy a tree illegally collected and ready styled, as they want to own the finished image without having the skill to make it themselves. This leads to many many dead and ruined yamadori in future years.

wild salmon netters and wild bass fishermen are issued numbered tags that have to be attached to the individual fish before sale - the tag must remain on the fish until it is sold to the final owner or it is illegal. All wild fish must be tagged, when the tags are gone for the year no more can be openly collected and sold. It could work but would need cooperation and it would need regions to understand the value of their natural resources..


Marcus and Fiona – well said. I wasn’t aware that forests in Europe were getting so badly depleted. I've lately gotten interested in the concept of sustainability and rampant collecting does not appear to be sustainable. When one sees what a sustainable nursery trade in Taiwan and Japan can do to produce very good bonsai raw stock, would it even be even necessary to encourage collecting from the wild?
As bonsai matures in the west do we follow the path of Japan and Taiwan, and have our governments disallow collecting from the wild?

Note I am limiting this comment to collecting from wild. Taking trees from impending construction sites, landscaping and urban settings seems to me to be sustainable.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Randy_Davis on Fri Oct 07, 2011 2:08 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:Marcus and Fiona – well said. I wasn’t aware that forests in Europe were getting so badly depleted. I've lately gotten interested in the concept of sustainability and rampant collecting does not appear to be sustainable. When one sees what a sustainable nursery trade in Taiwan and Japan can do to produce very good bonsai raw stock, would it even be even necessary to encourage collecting from the wild?
As bonsai matures in the west do we follow the path of Japan and Taiwan, and have our governments disallow collecting from the wild?

Note I am limiting this comment to collecting from wild. Taking trees from impending construction sites, landscaping and urban settings seems to me to be sustainable.

Collecting from the wild is one of personal integrity and should not be done haphazardly. There are many resources that one can use to research the level of urban or other causes of stress on wild plant populations as part of your collecting endevor. Here in the US the USDA plant database has good information about local plant populations and should be consulted before you go out collecting willy-nilly. There are some situations, I'll use one example, of trees like Ulmus thomasi (rock or cork elm) that are under urban stress in Ohio, but plentiful in other parts of th country. Doing a little research before hand will go a long way to protecting the natural resources that we have. Another thing is to work with State or Federal agencies to collect responsibily on public land. Thre are many areas that are open for responsible (licensed) collecting. There are many fine plants that can be used for bonsai that are considered "invasive" introduced species which agencies will aplaud you for removing out of the environment. It is our (the bonsai enthusiast's) responsibility to know the sources of the material that we use. Ask questions about where the material came from and the process used for it's removal. It's irresponsible to just apply the adage of "I'm only taking one", each one adds to habitate distruction.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  DaveV. on Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:04 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:
DaveV. wrote:I don't think a collected tree is a bonsai until it is styled and growing successfully in a bonsai pot. A tree just dug from the ground is not a bonsai IMO.
Hi Dave, I am trying to understand your point. Are you saying a tree taken from the ground without permission and then worked into a bonsai is ok to display without consideration of its past as a stolen good.
Would this be similar to a person stealing a raw gold nugget, melting it down and making jewelery and then selling/displaying it in a gallery legally? Of did I miss something in your post?

Rob, Yes that is correct. Its all relative. Many people who see my trees think they are nice to look at but don't feel they are worth the time and effort ( and money) that I put into them. If I was interested in rock collecting and I happened to pick up a rock in someones gravel driveway and I took it home and shined it up to make it look pretty and showed others how pretty it was now that I have worked on it, I would not believe that I stole the rock from someones driveway. Again, its relative. I would NOT take someones landscape rock from their yard or driveway. Another example, Eastern Red Cedars grow all over the place where I live. If several happen to be in a ditch and the person who owns the ditch typically mows them over, I don't feel it is steeling if I remove one from his ditch. He would probably be happy that I did. However, I would not dig a japanese maple from his yard. Do you understand my point now? It relative.

Rob, If I found a gold nugget in a local river and took it home, I would not consider that stealing. I do not believe the county or state would feel that I need to inform them of this either.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  Rob Kempinski on Fri Oct 07, 2011 3:57 pm

DaveV. wrote:
Rob Kempinski wrote:
DaveV. wrote:I don't think a collected tree is a bonsai until it is styled and growing successfully in a bonsai pot. A tree just dug from the ground is not a bonsai IMO.
Hi Dave, I am trying to understand your point. Are you saying a tree taken from the ground without permission and then worked into a bonsai is ok to display without consideration of its past as a stolen good.
Would this be similar to a person stealing a raw gold nugget, melting it down and making jewelery and then selling/displaying it in a gallery legally? Of did I miss something in your post?

Rob, Yes that is correct. Its all relative. Many people who see my trees think they are nice to look at but don't feel they are worth the time and effort ( and money) that I put into them. If I was interested in rock collecting and I happened to pick up a rock in someones gravel driveway and I took it home and shined it up to make it look pretty and showed others how pretty it was now that I have worked on it, I would not believe that I stole the rock from someones driveway. Again, its relative. I would NOT take someones landscape rock from their yard or driveway. Another example, Eastern Red Cedars grow all over the place where I live. If several happen to be in a ditch and the person who owns the ditch typically mows them over, I don't feel it is steeling if I remove one from his ditch. He would probably be happy that I did. However, I would not dig a japanese maple from his yard. Do you understand my point now? It relative.

Rob, If I found a gold nugget in a local river and took it home, I would not consider that stealing. I do not believe the county or state would feel that I need to inform them of this either.

Thanks Dave, for the additional explanation of your way to view the issue. It becomes a philosophical contra point. How far does relative go before there is an impact? You may take one stone, but what if everyone took one stone? Where can you draw the line? Pretty much something that doesn’t belong to you belongs to someone else, no matter how small.

Taking trees from ditches or other urban areas seems to me to be sustainable and I don't think it is wrong. It should still be done with permission however. I know a person that was arrested for taking plants from side of a highway, claiming it wasn't used by anyone. Still got arrested and has a criminal record and a fine. Another person I know was arrested for taking bamboo from a rail road siding without permission. He was charged with trespassing, big fine, legal fees and criminal record for him too. The bamboo was seemingly worthless but still a crime.

Randy’s point about knowing what you are doing and getting permits seems logical and appropriate. However, creating supply side demand will, with human nature being what it is, encourage unscrupulous collecting. As bonsai enthusiasts we are the ones creating the demand. The way we ooh and awe over collected material (I’m not isolating myself, I do it too) creates demand that fuels bad behavior and leads to action no different than the bozo that stole this tree from the show. It is something we need to discuss openly and frankly without rancor. So thanks for your cogent response.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  coh on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:10 pm

Rob Kempinski wrote:Thanks Dave, for the additional explanation of your way to view the issue. It becomes a philosophical contra point. How far does relative go before there is an impact? You may take one stone, but what if everyone took one stone? Where can you draw the line? Pretty much something that doesn’t belong to you belongs to someone else, no matter how small.
Yes, think that is a great point, and one we should all keep in mind when we're tempted. How would you feel if you saw people rummaging through your property picking up "just one stone" or whatever object struck their fancy?

I admit I've been tempted by a few small trees I've seen in local "open space" parks...trees I'm sure no one else has noticed, that are growing in out-of-the way locations or places where they get mowed or run over. Most likely no one would ever miss them if I took a few, and the chances of getting caught would be almost nil. But what if everyone felt that way and just took whatever they wanted?

Chris


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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  DaveV. on Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:03 pm

coh wrote:
Rob Kempinski wrote:Thanks Dave, for the additional explanation of your way to view the issue. It becomes a philosophical contra point. How far does relative go before there is an impact? You may take one stone, but what if everyone took one stone? Where can you draw the line? Pretty much something that doesn’t belong to you belongs to someone else, no matter how small.
Yes, think that is a great point, and one we should all keep in mind when we're tempted. How would you feel if you saw people rummaging through your property picking up "just one stone" or whatever object struck their fancy?

I admit I've been tempted by a few small trees I've seen in local "open space" parks...trees I'm sure no one else has noticed, that are growing in out-of-the way locations or places where they get mowed or run over. Most likely no one would ever miss them if I took a few, and the chances of getting caught would be almost nil. But what if everyone felt that way and just took whatever they wanted?

Chris


Hi Chris. Again, I think its all relative to where you live. I can see how if one lives in California and removed a tree from a ditch you would be in big trouble. I live in the rural midwest (farm country). No one picks up limestone rocks in peoples driveways around here except me. Likewise, no one digs a ERC from a ditch except me. If everyone was doing this, that now becomes relative to my living situation. Now, if I lived on the west or east coast I would be much more carefull and get permission. There are a few cranky folks around here that may get upset, but they are cranky to begin with. I guess it depends on your situation.

Back to my main point though, I dont think a tree is a bonsai until it has been styled and can survive in a bonsai pot.

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Re: STOLEN TREE, need your help

Post  coh on Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:19 pm

Dave, we're just going to have to disagree on this one. It doesn't matter where you live, you're still taking something without the owner's permission. And I'm not sure that you'd necessarily be in bigger trouble in California...I'd agree that you'd be more likely to run afoul of the law there, but in the more rural areas you just might run into a cranky landowner with a shotgun.

I live in western NY, in a transitional area between the suburbs and rural farmland. I spend a lot of time in those rural areas...I'm an artist and I go out painting on location with a group of friends on Saturdays. Many of them have been doing it much longer than me (decades), and they've told some hair raising stories about encounters with suspicious/crazy landowners. Be careful out there...

Chris

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