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Couple Claim Neighbor|Stole Giant Redwood

EUREKA, Calif. (CN) - In a somewhat bizarre complaint, a couple claim a tree farm stole a "landmark redwood tree," 12 feet in diameter, from their pasture, then filled in the area with brush and ripped out survey markers and fence to try to "conceal this theft."

James and Bonita Walker sued their neighbors, the Skaggs Tree Farm, and Willis Otis Skaggs, in Humboldt County Court.

"These events occurred at a time when defendants knew plaintiff James Walker was hospitalized for a long term and with a severe injury and would be unable to access this location on his property for a significant period of time," according to the complaint.

The Walkers say Skaggs intentionally, willfully or maliciously "cut and removed a redwood tree that was 12 feet DBH (diameter at breast height)" from their land in September 2007. "In order to conceal this theft, the tree's stump was then dug up and removed and the void left thereby was filled with brush in what appeared to be an effort to camouflage the area where the tree had been located."

The Walkers say Skaggs did it to get the tree "for defendants' own use and profits."

They say the timber from the redwood had a market value of $26,198.

They seek treble damages for wrongful cutting and removal of timber and trespass, another $17,412 to replace the missing fence, and another $100,000 for loss and injury to livestock as a result of the fence destruction.

They are represented by Richard Smith with The Harland Law Firm, of Eureka.

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