Boy, 13, arrested in chainsaw vandalism

Boy, 13, arrested in chainsaw vandalism

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by Teresa Blackman, kgw.com staff

kgw.com

Posted on April 28, 2010 at 12:16 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 29 at 7:59 AM

RHODODENDRON, Ore. -- Police have arrested a suspect who they believe intentionally cut down trees and power poles along Highway 26 in Sandy - at times, causing them to fall on the busy roadway and endangering drivers.

The suspect's name has not been released but police described him as a 13-year-old Sandy boy who lives in a trailer in the Sandy area.

There have been several incidents, dating back to last December, where trees were mysteriously cut down on Cherryville Hill east of Sandy as well as several power poles. On Wednesday, investigators said they also believe the tree cutter was responsible for a number of burglaries and arson fires in the area.

Tree-cutting endangered lives

Trees cut to fall across Hwy 26 were responsible for two dangerous vehicle collisions, both late at night, and both resulting in minor injuries. Background: Woman hurt after crashing into tree

Also, one evening in mid April, the late-night vandalism left 500 people without power in rural Clackamas County.

More: East Metro power outages

Since late January there had also been a half-dozen incidents where trees or power poles have been cut down along Cherryville or Terra Fern roads, according to Lt. Gregg Hastings with Oregon State Police.

"It would just take one time for someone to be driving when it's dark and they don't see a tree fall in front of them," Hastings said of the danger the vandal posed. "Swerving to miss a tree -- or hitting one -- could injure, even kill people."

The suspect's name was not released since he is a juvenile. He appeared in court Wednesday afternoon on several charges including first- and second-degree arson, reckless burning and criminal mischief, according to detective Jim Strovink with the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office.

Court documents showed that the break in the case came when a Sandy-area homeowner installed a surveillance camera which caught video of a boy vandalizing his shed and then setting fire to the camera. Despite the fire, investigators were still able to get images off the hard drive.

"This suspect had residents in the area of SE Cherryville Drive in Sandy, seriously alarmed," Strovink said Wednesday.

Raw: Listen to 9-1-1 calls

Each incident was preceded by reports of late-night wood cutting and locals waking up to the whirring of an electric chainsaw, 9-1-1 calls reveal. Area residents dubbed the person the "Chainsaw Chicken" because the crimes always occurred under the mask of darkness.

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