WASHINGTON, Mo. (KTVI) — A man in his 50s who is accused of cutting down more than 150 trees along the Missouri River has been charged.
Police said Perry Pecaut cut trees that were along a nature trail on public protected wetlands in Washington, Missouri. He is charged with two felony counts of first-degree property damage and two misdemeanor trespassing charges.
Investigators said the man told them why he did it.
“A lot of the trees had overgrowth, vines, and things like that. He felt a lot of those trees were going to die anyway, so he went through there and cleared them out,” Washington Police Detective Sgt. Steve Sitzes said.
The trees were not on his property. Since 2007, residents have had to ask for permission to have a tree removed from public property located between their property and the river. If the city agreed, the homeowner would pay for the work.
Detectives said the suspect said he didn’t know the rules.
“You can’t go down there and simply cut down the trees,” Sitzes said.
An arborist for the city of Washington has estimated the town’s losses at $66,000.