GROVE CITY – A Pine Township man is facing theft charges for allegedly stealing more than two dozen trees from Grove City Memorial Park to plant at his home.
Danny Enrico Como, 66, of 73 Lake Drive, was charged April 14 by Grove City police with theft by unlawful taking.
He reportedly removed 26 evergreens from the park, 1200 W. Main St., around 6 a.m. April 8. He did not have permission from the borough to remove the trees, police said.
Police were called to the park around 1 p.m. April 8 for a report of a man with a silver Toyota sport-utility vehicle taking evergreens near the baseball fields, according to court documents.
The witness recorded the man’s actions with his cell phone’s video camera.
Police were able to identify the man as Como by looking up the vehicle’s license plate as seen in the video.
Police visited Como’s home on April 9 to question him about the incident. Como admitted to taking the trees from the park because he wanted to plant them in his back yard.
The majority of the evergreens were planted in his yard at that time. Police counted 26 trees.
Grove City Borough Manager Vance Oakes confirmed on April 13 that the borough wanted to press charges.
Oakes said on Friday that he was not aware of the incident until the police contacted the borough office.
The trees that Como reportedly took were removed from a wooded area near the former Girl Scout lodge.
The borough removed some trees in that area this past winter. They were older and some of them were diseased or falling over, Oakes said.
New trees have been growing in that area, reaching about 2 to 3 feet. He believes those are among the trees that Como allegedly took.
“Those ones have come up on their own,” he said.
The borough will let the courts decide whether Como should pay restitution to the borough to cover the cost of planting new trees.
Como has a preliminary hearing set for 9:30 a.m. May 12 with District Judge D. Neil McEwen, Pine Township.