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Alleged tree poisoner arrested after dispute at Lowe’s

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A college football fan accused of spiking mature oak trees with an herbicide in Birmingham, Ala., was arrested at a Louisiana Lowe’s store following an argument at the returns desk over a lawn mower refund.

The Hammond Daily Star reported that Harvey Updyke Jr., 63, demanded $150 for returning a lawnmower to Lowe’s on Sept. 18 , but the store manager told him he was only due $110. After the situation escalated, store personnel called the police. 

Updyke was booked into jail after making comments deemed threatening to Lowe’s employees. He is currently awaiting trial in Alabama, where the University of Alabama football fan stands accused of poisoning a group of venerable oak trees at Auburn University following a 2010 national championship game between the two teams. Auburn, which beat Alabama 28-27 in the Iron Bowl, traditionally decorates the trees following big victories.

Updyke has pleaded not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect to criminal mischief, desecrating a venerable object and other charges. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.


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