Tenn. Christmas tree farm finds tops chopped off two dozen large firs

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

FLAG POND, Tenn. -- Authorities are on the lookout for a Grinch who stole the tops off more than two dozen Christmas trees from Danny Tipton's farm.

The thief or thieves raided the farm in eastern Tennessee sometime between Nov. 24 and last week and cut the tops off the Fraser firs that were 10 to 12 feet tall.

Tipton grows the taller trees for use in businesses, churches and homes with high ceilings and they usually sell for about $100 each.

The culprit sawed the top six feet off about 28 trees and hauled them off the property. Tipton estimates they would get about $15 to $20 each.

"It's a very low person who commits such a crime as this at Christmastime," Sheriff's Maj. Ronnie Adkins said.

Tipton still has about 6,000 trees growing on his farm near the North Carolina border, but they are in various stages of maturity. The pilfered firs were ready for sale when they were taken sometime last week.

"I had gone to harvest the trees," Tipton said. "That's when I noticed there had been somebody in there cutting them. (It was) sort of disbelief. I couldn't believe anybody would go to the extremes they went to get them."

Authorities have a description of a vehicle, but a lack of evidence may hinder catching the Grinch.

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