Vandals cut down 9 maple trees in Sterling Heights couple's backyard

Couple says they found trees chopped down after work

STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. - A Sterling Heights couple was devastated Tuesday night after they returned home and found that all nine of their fully grown maple trees had been cut down.

"Not one or two trees, but this yard looks like a jungle," David Atkinson said. "It's a mess. ... I opened the door and this is what I found."

Police said the malicious destruction of property happened in the 14000 block of 19 Mile Road.

One of Atkinson's trees had fallen onto a privacy fence, and another had struck his house and patio.

"Tree branches (and) a lot of sadness, to be honest," Atkinson said.

It takes some maneuvering for Atkinson to step onto his patio, because one of the trees is still leaning against his house.

Atkinson said the destruction confused him.

"Why?" he said. "Why us? Why now? What did we do to deserve this?"

Nine of the 30-foot maple trees lined his Sterling Heights property, but this week, Atkinson and his wife found all of them chopped down.

"It hurts a lot," Atkinson said. "We purchased the home in July and one of the major selling features we loved were the beautiful, rare, mature trees."

The trees were intentionally cut down while the Atkinsons were at work.

"Somebody had a plan," Michelle Atkinson said. "It wasn't professionally done, so it was somebody with some kind of an agenda. It's baffling."

"When we discovered this, it was nighttime," David Atkinson said. "So this morning was the first time we saw it in daylight, and it just feels catastrophic."

Neighbors said they heard a chainsaw, but assumed it was a hired contractor. The person who cut the trees did not have a marked truck.

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