A thief who ripped sapling citrus trees from the grounds of Christ the King Lutheran Church in Orangevale ostensibly stole from the congregation, an Eagle Scout and the poor.
Captured on church security camera video, the man can be seen loosening the ground by digging around one of the trees and then yanking it up. He is later seen on video wheeling away several of the trees in a refuse can.
“He hooked the can up to his bicycle and rode off with them,” said the Rev. Scott Guemmer, pastor of the 125-member church at 5811 Walnut Ave.
Guemmer said the thief dug up four of six small grapefruit and oranges trees before wheeling them away. Church members discovered them gone Sunday morning.
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The trees were being raised to adulthood, at which time the fruit would be harvested and donated to the Orangevale Food Bank.
“It wasn’t for us,” Guemmer said. “It was for the greater community.”
The trees were planted last summer by Boy Scout Andrew Shade. As part of his Eagle Scout project, he raised the money for the citrus plantings.
The ground was leveled, crushed gravel was spread around, planter boxes were constructed and irrigation lines were put in place. His troop helped complete the project under his leadership.