CANYON COUNTRY (CBS) — It may have been a prank when someone cut down a 40-year-old pine tree at a Canyon Country high school, but police are calling it felony vandalism.
They are looking to arrest the culprits, who were caught on security video in the act.
Forty years of sentiment were severed overnight, when students and faculty arrived at Canyon High School to find the tree cut down.
“This one was just a heinous criminal act that was uncalled for,” one man said.
Three teens were caught on the school’s security cameras trespassing on campus with chainsaws and gas cans in hand.
“One suspect attempted to cover up one of the surveillance cameras,” a man said.
The three teens proceeded to chop down the 70-foot tall pine tree in the middle of campus.
It took the vandals three hours to cut through the tree’s trunk. At one point one of the teen is seen on the video walking around with a pipe on his shoulder.
Once the tree fell, the teens scattered.
Although caught on camera, there is no clear look at the men, who were wearing hoodies and beanies.
The school district, along with detectives investing the case, warned that the suspects would face a felony vandalism charge and that criminal and school punishments would come once they were caught.
The tree was one of the original pines planted 40 years ago when the campus was built.
The damage was estimated to be $15,000.