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Trees vandalized in Huntington Beach park

October 8, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Fifteen trees in Gibbs Park were vandalized for the second time in three months.Vandals destroyed trees at two different parks in Huntington Beach. The Huntington Beach City Council is offering a reward in the case.

The damage is not hard to miss: 15 trees vandalized in Norma Brandel Gibbs Park in Huntington Beach, trunks snapped or bent, bark stripped off?

"The trees are pretty well damaged beyond repair," said Huntington Beach spokesperson Laurie Payne. "So we'll have to be replacing them with new trees."

Officials estimate the replacement cost will be about $7,500.

Some of the trees had just been replaced after what vandals did in August to nine eucalyptus and pine trees.

"Makes my heart sad," said park volunteer Leslie Gilson. "We cried when we came in and saw it."

Two months ago, someone chopped off treetops, angering volunteers who over the years pitched in to restore the park from an overgrown eyesore to a space that has become known as part of the winter migrating path of the Monarch butterfly. Boy Scouts helped plant many of the trees.

"This is very important for our neighborhood and our children to enjoy," said park visitor Sherri Tajudin. "I just think that they should really think about what they're doing, because it affects so many people, and so many kids really love to enjoy this park."

Police believe the recent vandalism may involve the same people as the previous case.

"This looks and appears to be juveniles involved," said Huntington Beach Police Lt. Russell Reinhart. "When kids are involved, they tell their friends and somebody's going to know something, so we hope someone will come forward and give us some information we can start working on to solve this."

Earlier this week, the city council voted to offer a $500 reward for the arrest and conviction of those responsible for this. If you have information, call the HBPD at (714) 960-8825.

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