Police seek tree-trimming suspect

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 6, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Police are trying to locate a man wanted on felony charges for destroying three large trees on a homeowner’s property.

Detective Joyce L. Williams of the Suffolk Police Department said warrants are on file for Christopher Michael Kelley, 25, of Virginia Beach.

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Lt. Debbie J. George, the police department’s spokeswoman, described Williams as white, 5 feet 10 inches tall and 170 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes. He operates a truck that may still bear the logo &uot;AAA Cut Above Tree Service.&uot;

His last known address is in the 1500 block of Independence Boulevard in Virginia Beach, George said.

Kelley was charged with felony vandalism and destruction of trees after he left a job in a rush.

&uot;He was hired Dec. 8, 2003, by an elderly couple who found him through an ad in The Virginian-Pilot, and he was to cut down one tree for them,&uot; said Williams. &uot;Near the job’s completion, Kelley went to the victims’ door in the Sleepy Lake subdivision, requesting that they pay him.

&uot;They declined to pay until the job was completed.&uot;

The victims told the detective that Kelley returned to their front yard and cut down two additional trees that fell across the driveway and sidewalk, blocking the couple’s yard, Williams said.

He also damaged a third tree to such an extent that the tree died, Williams added.

Anyone with knowledge of Kelley’s whereabouts should call Suffolk Police Dispatch at 923-2350 or Suffolk Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-Up. Crime Line callers will remain anonymous and never be called upon to testify in court.

If a caller’s information leads to an arrest, he is eligible for a reward of up to $1,000.