Tree chopped down during bike theft

June 10, 2011 2:16:45 PM PDT
The NYPD is searching for a group of thieves who decided the fastest way to steal a bike in Brooklyn was to cut down the tree it was chained to.

It was all caught on tape.

For the Parks Department it was just another job.

Get rid of the tree and move on.

But for the people who live and work here, it was so much more.

"It's a real shame," a resident said.

"People have no morals," said another.

The surveillance video shows what happened.

A young man arrived with an ax and hacked away at the tree.

Twice he got tired and took a break, but he got back at it again with renewed aggression.

In time, the tree falls.

The kids take the 11-year-old child's bicycle that was chained to it and just like that a child has lost his bike and a neighborhood its tree.

Alex planted the Ginkgo tree seven years ago and many in the neighborhood helped take care of it.

Why a Ginkgo tree?

It's the only kind of tree that survived the nuclear bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, so for many it represents a long life against long odds.

Resident Obern Laqua knows the young men in the video, as do many here.

But when Alex called the police, the officer thought the only crime was the theft of the bike, and didn't consider the larger crime.

Alex, like many in this neighborhood of Russian immigrants doesn't speak much English.

But everyone understands what happened.

"A tree is life," a resident said.