Stolen Trees Inspire New Ordinance in Midland

By: Sarah Snyder
NewsWest 9

When you think of a hot item for theft you might picture jewelry, wallets, or expensive electronics. But the latest item that's come up missing in the Tall City, trees. 

It's a growing problem that's got the city parks department trying to figure out how to handle.

The City of Midland and Keep Midland Beautiful say they plant about 100 trees in our parks each year. 

Out of those, several turn up missing costing the city and park donors about $100 a piece. 

It's an issue that Midland's Urban Forester has decided to address head on.

Keep Midland Beautiful says the lack of West Texas greenery encourages theft. The latest victims, pine trees at Ratliff Park.

"I think the thing that is most shocking to people when they hear we have trees stolen after we do a tree planting - people are real protective of their trees in this community," Keep Midland Beautiful Executive Director Doreen Richardson, said. "We live in West Texas, we don't have a lot of trees."

Randy Myers, Midland's Urban Forester is in the planning stages of developing a city ordinance, and last week he presented his plan at the parks commission meeting.

"It should help address the thefts and the care of trees on public property," Myers said.

But for now he found a temporary solution: planting trees that hopefully won't be quite as appealing to theives.

"I went back with a different species of tree and hopefully, nobody will want these," Myers said. "It's your park, your trees, and your tax dollars. If you see anything like that going on in the parks, please report it."

This ordinance is still in the planning stages, and over the next several weeks they'll revise the first draft then take it to the legal and planning departments.