Cattle rustling may be a farm theft we’re all a little more familiar with, but black walnut trees are increasingly in danger of “tree rustling”. The Maysville Police Department in Kentucky is searching for tree thieves who swiped six valuable black walnut trees from a local farm.
According to a news release by the police department, the walnut trees were cut down from the farm off of U.S. 68.
Walnut theft has become increasingly prolific, with the valuable trees inspiring thieves to capitalize on financial gains. Fresh cuts from walnut logs bring good prices at mills, selling for anywhere from $5 to $12 per board foot.
News station Local12 reported that the owner of the farm and county commissioner David Cartmell said that he’s found a dozen trees cut down around the farm — worth a total of about $30,000.
“When I see a small trailer with a log on it, I kind of get the license plate number because it’s just what it comes to,” Cartmell told the news station. He is offering $1,000 for information that leads to arrest and conviction related to the thefts.
Previous walnut theft cases have been charged as felony offenses.
Walnut trees are raised for nuts and harvested for timber. Black walnuts grown for timber are called “legacy trees” because they take about 30 years to reach a prime harvesting size of about 16 inches.
Last year, two Ohio siblings were charged with cutting down a 250-year-old walnut tree in Cleveland. According to news releases, they were ordered to pay $20,000 for cutting down the tree after allegedly pleading guilty to the felony theft.
In another case, a federal grand jury in Roanoke, Virginia, indicted three men accused of violating the Lacey Act by allegedly removing walnut trees from federally protected land. The trees were removed by a federally protected area that was part of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Flood Damage Reduction program.