Arrest made after two trees are cut, land on and cause extensive damage to new homes
Published 12:04 pm Wednesday, March 29, 2023
EAST SPENCER — Two houses that are part of a four-house new construction project on Third Street have sustained damage, one with major structural destruction, after a local man apparently intentionally cut not one but two trees to fall on them.
Police Chief John Fewell said the motive is still unclear, but Charles Ramsey, 37, has been arrested and charged with two counts of felony damage to property.
On Friday, Fewell said emergency officials received a report that a tree had fallen on the street. Officers found a smaller tree had been cut down but the only damage at that time was the stripping away of some siding, which the builder said may cost $150-$200 to repair.
But on Monday, when a real estate agent arrived to show the end home of the four, she called to report a huge tree had fallen and caused extensive damage to not one, but two of the new houses at 510 and 514 Third Street.
No one was injured in the incident, but the left side of the end house’s upper floor is crushed in completely, to the point that the ceiling of the kitchen is caved in. Siding is hanging from the edge of the house, and a massive hole is open to the sky.
Next door, it appears a longer branch punched a hole in the side of the house, but the damage is not as severe.
Fewell said initially investigators could see the first tree was cut, it had not fallen on its own. However, it was small enough that the damage was minor. Sometime over the weekend, Ramsey allegedly went back with a red chain saw and cut the larger tree. Neighbors told police they hear the tree fall, but no one called to report it, because they were not aware the damage that had been done.
Fewell said the builder has said he thinks the foundation may have been damaged, which would mean the entire house will have to be rebuilt. He said the estimated cost of building the house was $250,000.
Ramsey was released on a written promise to appear.
“I’ve seen a lot of strange crimes and weird property damage, but never anything like this,” said Fewell, who added that Ramsey has not said why he cut the trees. The trees are not on Ramsey’s property, though he does live nearby.