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UW-Madison police: Students stole rare pine tree in fraternity pledge

University of Wisconsin-Madison
University of Wisconsin-Madison(WMTV)
Published: Mar. 26, 2021 at 8:01 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (AP) - Police who were stumped by the theft of a rare pine tree in November from the University of Wisconsin Arboretum say they have cracked the case.

UW-Madison police said Friday that three 19-year-old university students stole the tree as a “pledge” activity for the Chi Phi fraternity, which hasn’t been recognized as an official student organization since 2015.

Police say they acted on a tip. The three admitted to purchasing a chainsaw, renting a U-Haul and stealing the 25-foot Algonquin Pillar Swiss Mountain pine.

Each of them was cited for removing the tree, which is punishable by a $200 fine.

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