If you have property in Northern Wisconsin, take note. Thieves are targeting your white birch trees. It appears vandals are selling the white birch branches to companies who make decorations. Here's the press release from the The Washburn County Sheriff's Office:
"Birch theft has become the new trend in Northwest Wisconsin," said Chief Deputy Mike Richter. "This theft is replacing theft of scrap metal or copper that for a long time has led to quick money for drug addicts and habitual criminals.
"Thefts are occuring on county and state forests as well as on private property. The subjects responsible for our birch thefts have no regard for the resource, and hastily cut, load, and run from the theft site," he said.
He noted that some area residents may have seen the theft but not realized what was going on.
"Subjects involved are hauling birch products in pick-up trucks and trailers, unlike professional loggers that have specialty equipment built to haul large volume," Richter said.
"If you see activity in your neighborhood that looks suspicious, please be a Good Neighbor and call the Sheriff's Office," he added. "License plate numbers and vehicle descriptions are very helpful. Please call anytime of the day or night, as some of these folks are cutting during the day and hauling at night.
"If you see birch in a truck or trailer, let us know," Richter said. "As a community we can stop this theft of one of our beautiful resources!" (photo from the Washburn County Sheriff's office)