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Pine crime: 3 students cited in theft of rare tree in Wisconsin

Posted at 11:59 AM, Mar 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-26 15:24:44-04

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Police who were stumped by the theft of a rare pine tree in November from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum say they have cracked the case.

UW-Madison police said Friday that three 19-year-old university students stole the tree as a “pledge” activity for the Chi Phi fraternity, which hasn't been recognized as an official student organization since 2015.

Police say they acted on a tip. The three admitted to purchasing a chainsaw, renting a U-Haul and stealing the 25-foot Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain pine.

Each of them was cited for removing the tree, which is punishable by a $200 fine.

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