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Man who cut maple tree by Olympic National Park gets prison

January 20, 2018 GMT

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) — Federal officials say a man will spend 30 days in prison for cutting down and stealing a big leaf maple tree near Olympic National Park.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 63-year-old Michael Welches was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 30 days in prison.

Welches pleaded guilty to depredation of government property in October.

Court records say on Nov. 11, 2013, the Park Service was notified that a neighbor saw people wearing headlamps and heard chain saws in the middle of the night.

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Documents say the next night the neighbor alerted a ranger to activity which resulted in the arrests of Welches and two other men as they were cutting and loading a maple.

A receipt indicated the men had sold some of the wood to a Quilcene, Washington music wood supplier. The value of the timber as music wood is estimated at nearly $9,000.