He’s Back: ‘The Brighton Tree Ninja is Escalating’
Described by locals as a “master of evasion,” lurking in the Brighton-area and blistering trees—often fatally—with blows to their trunks using his weapon of choice, the alleged “Tree Ninja” has returned once again, and police want residents to be on the lookout.
According to Universal Hub, police officers from District-14 updated locals on a problem that has plagued the neighborhood for years during a Brighton Allston Improvement Association meeting Thursday night. A man described as “mentally unstable,” who goes around in costume and hacks at the city’s trees with a blade, has resumed the attacks after a brief hiatus, they said.
An ominous notice posted prior to Thursday night’s meeting that alerted residents of the continued attacks on shrubbery and even saplings, said:
Thousands of dollars has been spent by homeowners for tree removal. A few winters ago, a damaged tree came down in a storm, narrowly missing people, power lines, and cars. Two years ago, nearly every newly planted tree along Winship Street was destroyed. We now live in a barren neighborhood with any remaining tree on public or private property at risk of being destroyed.
Police confirmed as much as they detailed recent attacks on trees in Brighton. Officers also said that the city has refused to plant new trees in certain areas because the risk of them being destroyed is too high.
Last year, Greg Mosman, the city’s chief arborist in charge of making sure all of the trees that line the streets are in tip-top condition, told Boston that in his entire career—he’s been around for nearly a decade—he’s had the same issues crop up with the alleged “Tree Ninja” for eight of them. “He is known to police—he has been caught in the act and has been charged for it and locked up for it,” says Mosman. “Every few years [the issue] seems to pop up … tree vandalism is unusual. And for one person to be known and caught and to keep doing it is kind of unique,” he says. “We sort of just took away public trees. Once we figured out [what was going on], and when we met with police, they asked us not to put them back.”
As for handling the vandalism this time around, officers are asking residents to pick up the phone and dial 911, and urging them not to approach the alleged assailant.