City offers bounty for tree lopper |

City offers bounty for tree lopper

Aspen is offering a $5,000 reward for information leading the arrest of the individual responsible for topping off a row of trees on East Hopkins Avenue. (Illustration by Kayden Christensen/The Aspen Times)

Councilman J.E. DeVilbiss wants those who lopped the tops off several trees on East Hopkins Avenue, and he’s prepared for the city to offer a hefty bounty: $100,000.Council Monday night approved offering a reward leading to the arrest and conviction of the culprits – but only $5,000.DeVilbiss accepted the lesser amount, but he’s not sure it’s substantial enough to draw people out of the woodwork with names.The city has “$100 million budget and offers a $5,000 reward to figure out what jerk topped those trees,” he said.DeVilbiss was hoping a higher amount might entice the contractors who did the work to come forward with the names of the people who hired them.The city is in negotiations with a limited liability corporation that has offered to pay to replace the trees. DeVilbiss said he is worried that accepting that offer – even if the investigation continues – sends a message that those with enough money to afford expensive attorneys can essentially do whatever they want. Publicizing the names of the offenders, however, would be a deterrent, he said.”I want to get serious about it,” he said. “I do want to broadcast the names of the cowards that did it.”Councilman Jack Johnson said he had no issue with the “public disgrace” approach, but he supported the lower figure.Mayor Helen Klanderud, on the other hand, said this particular approach “sets a tone in this community that I’m uncomfortable with. … I do not see this as furthering a sense of community. I see it as destroying that fabric.”Although Councilman Torre agreed with Klanderud that public disgrace isn’t necessary, he did support the reward.Council approved the $5,000 reward 4-1, with Klanderud dissenting.Abigail Eagye’s e-mail address is

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