BALTIMORE (WJZ) — What started as a possible high school prank could land some students in trouble with the law, as authorities are investigating after a tree was planted on a baseball field in Queen Anne’s County.
A tree mysteriously popped up on the baseball field, and the sheriff says the damage is not funny.
Between the pitcher’s mound and the home plate of the Queen Anne’s County High School baseball field, that’s where the 6 to 7 foot tree was planted.
Along with the tree, they found a message written in the dirt. It read, “Earth Day 2017.”
Authorities say this is the time of year when they typically see senior pranks, but say this is a first.
“There’s been a lot of senior pranks and things like that, but it’s the first time I’ve seen a tree on a baseball field,” said Dale Patrick, with the Queen Anne’s County Sheriff’s Office.
Lt. Patrick tells WJZ’s Amy Yensi, the school recently put in new grass and improvements to the field, and the suspects caused thousands of dollars in damage.
“Even though they think the stunt was meant in jest, it’s also illegal,” Patrick said. “We’re treating it as a crime. It’s [malicious destruction of property], plus the tree was valued at $130. The price tag was on it and I’m sure they didn’t pay for it. So you have a theft also.”
The tree has since been pulled out and grass is patching up the hole, but authorities say if the suspect or suspects had hit a pipe, it would have caused extensive water damage.
Some are saying the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.
“They’re taking it too serious, to be honest with you. It’s a joke,” said former student Michael Campbell. “The tree was probably bought and all that.
It’s a pitcher’s mound on a baseball field. C’mon now.”
The field does have some wear to it, but it’s still okay to play on.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Queen Anne’s County Office of the Sheriff at (410) 758-0770 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.