Central Square Timber Thief Sentenced

Submitted by the New York State DEC

Matthew Todd Solomon, 43, of Constantia (Oswego County), has been sentenced in Oswego County Court to pay fines and restitution and do community service after being convicted of illegally cutting and removing trees on private property located in the Village of Central Square. The standing value of the timber that was cut and removed by Mr. Solomon was estimated by a certified forester at $10,120.

In July 2005, the owner of the North County Plaza property in Central Square contacted the New York State Police alleging that someone had taken trees from his property without his authorization. The investigation was turned over to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Bureau of Environmental Crime Investigations Unit.

In the spring of 2005, the owner who lives in the Rochester area, had been negotiating with Solomon and another logger for the rights to log the property. Although the property owner told Solomon to mark trees and provide a value before deciding on the sale, no permission was ever given to remove the trees. Shortly after discovering the trees had been cut in May 2005, the owner received but never cashed a check, “for logs,” from Solomon in the amount of $1,300.

Solomon was charged with:

·     Grand Larceny 3rd, Class D Felony
·     Criminal Mischief in the Second Degree, Class D Felony
·     Unlawful Removal of Trees, Class A Misdemeanor

On March 5, 2008, a jury found Solomon guilty of the criminal mischief and the unlawful removal of trees charges, but acquitted him of grand larceny. On Nov. 7, a judge sentenced Solomon to:

·     Pay restitution of $10,120.
·     Pay a $4,000 fine.
·     Submit DNA to the state database.
·     Complete 50 hours of community service.

Theft of timber from forest lands can destroy generations of careful forest stewardship and cause irreparable environmental damage. To report a suspected timber theft, contact your local DEC Environmental Conservation Officer, the Division of Law Enforcement Dispatch Number at 1-800-457-5680 or the DEC TIPP Line at 1-800-TIPP DEC.