ARLINGTON >> A man faces charges for allegedly cutting down over 50 trees during a logging job and selling them without notifying the property owner.
Jason M. Morse, 34, pleaded not guilty in Vermont Superior Court on Nov. 13 on a charge of taking parcels of realty for a felony.
State police were contacted on Oct. 14 by a Farm Road property owner who reported trees on his property had been cut, according to an affidavit filed by Trooper Lauren Ronan.
The property owner, a Connecticut resident, told police no logging had been done when he was last on the property on Memorial Day.
The property owner reported finding a logging trail and that several acres of his property had been cut.
During a tour of the property on Oct. 14, Ronan found that the logging operation "blatantly" crossed over the property line by several hundred yards.
Neighbors told Ronan that Morse began logging their abutting property in April or May and that he logged more than they had agreed to. They also told police that Morse did not pay attention to the property line. When the neighbors confronted Morse, according to the affidavit, he allegedly said he had permission to log the abutting property from the owner. Logging eventually stopped over concerns about the property line.
A stump count from a forester is pending, according to the affidavit. Ronan estimated at least 50 trees were cut over the property line. When asked about the location of the trees that were taken, Morse told Ronan the logging trucks had picked up the wood.
Morse admitted to logging the property and claimed he had cut 50-60 trees outside of the line before finding the boundary. Morse allegedly said he never attempted to contact the property owner.
Morse turned himself in to the state police in Shaftsbury and was subsequently arrested on Nov. 12. He was taken to Marble Valley Correctional Facility for $2,500 bail.
He was released on the condition he not contact or harass the property owner, not log or woodwork on any property he does not have written permission to do so, and to provide a list of locations and owners of any property he will be logging. He is represented by the state Public Defenders Office and will return to court on Dec. 16 for a status conference.
The State Police are continuing to investigate the case. Anyone with information on this or similar crimes is encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police at the Shaftsbury Barracks at 802-442-5421. Information can also be submitted anonymously online at www.vtips.info or text "CRIMES" (274637) to Keyword: VTIPS.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979