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Auburn U's 130-Year-Old Oak Trees Are Poisoned

Alabama fan charged, and trees may not survive
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Suggested by ekwhaley88
Posted Feb 17, 2011 5:01 PM CST
Auburn University Oak Trees at Toomers Corner Are Poisoned, and Alabama Fan Is Charged
An undated photo provided by the Auburn Public Safety Department shows Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr., 62, of Dadeville.   (AP Photo/Auburn Public Safety Department)

(Newser) – A 62-year-old man has been charged with criminal mischief in a crime that cuts to the heart of Auburn University. Harvey Updyke Jr. allegedly poisoned the 130-year-old oak trees at Toomer's Corner on the edge of campus that serve as mascots of sorts for the school. Generations of students have covered the trees in toilet paper after sports wins, and now horticultural experts say they might not survive, reports Al.com.

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Updyke was arrested after a caller to a local radio show boasted that he had poisoned the trees, notes CNN. A lethal herbicide was then found in the soil. The caller didn't offer a motivation, but said he had done it after the Iron Bowl—an annual game between Auburn and rival Alabama. Updyke's Facebook page had a picture of him wearing an Alabama hat. For a roundup of less serious stunts related to college rivalries, click here. (Read more poisoning stories.)

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