Vandal cuts down 77 trees in senior community

- Someone cut down dozens of young pine trees overnight in a new senior community in Bradenton. It's a mysterious case neighbors are calling environmental vandalism.

The trees had only been in the ground for a little more than a month before a neighbor at Mirabella Villas noticed almost all of them were reduced to stumps - and the few left behind were dying.

"Who would do something like that?" asked a spokesperson for Mirabella Villas' developer, Monique Viehman. "It's a terrible act of eco-vandalism and especially for us being a green community, it's just devastating."

Trees are a big deal in the neighborhood, which is described as eco-friendly and caters to homeowners who are ages 55 and older. The pines that were cut down were planted as a barrier between an existing community and Mirabella Villas, much of which is still being developed.

"We're shocked. I don't even know what to say. We would just like to find out who did it," Viehman said, adding the crime will cost the developer $11,000.

Neighbors were just as surprised and angered by what happened.

"It was just heart-wrenching that somebody would want to destroy something that's being improved and making a better life for everybody around. It's just not right," said Ken King, who lives a couple hundred yards away from the trees that were chopped down.

Bradenton police are investigating the case. The developer is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

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