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Police: 65-year-old ‘Tree Ninja’ caught chopping down tree with a hammer

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(FILE PHOTO)

BOSTON (AP) — Boston police say they have arrested a 65-year-old man they believe is the infamous “Brighton Tree Ninja.”

For several years a vandal has been damaging newly planted trees and shrubbery in the city’s Brighton neighborhood. Authorities have been unable to apprehend the perpetrator.

The Boston Globe reports that police set up surveillance near the Brighton Elks Club. Officers caught Joseph Rizza entering an empty lot and attempting to chop down a tree with a hammer.

Detectives took Rizza into custody. He is being charged with five counts of willful and malicious destruction of property, and one count of possession of a dangerous weapon.

Police are continuing to investigate Rizza in connection with several years of reports of similar incidents.

A message left with Rizza’s attorney was not immediately returned.

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