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Cops Arrest 4 Oakland Men in Connection with 'Bizarre' Tree Vandalism

The alleged crime was related to an unpaid bill, Wyckoff Police say

Four Oakland men were arrested and charged Saturday with third degree criminal mischief following an incident last week in which a 25 foot tall, eight-inch diameter tree was cut down and logs were thrown through the window of a car, according to local police.

“This is without a doubt one of the most bizarre crimes we have seen in some time,” said Wyckoff Police Chief Benjamin Fox.      

Wyckoff Police responded to a Burma Road home shortly after 11 p.m. on Nov. 28 after a homeowner there called police to report that she had heard a chainsaw running and saw one of her trees cut down.

Sgt. Jack McEwan responded and discovered that in addition to the tree being felled, three 60 lb logs, each about 12-16 inches in diameter, about two feet in length, had been used to cause damage to a car in the driveway, police said. One log was thrown through the rear window of a 2009 Volkswagen Jetta which also damaged the interior of the car. Two other logs were thrown at the rear taillights smashing them and damaging the vehicle exterior.

Wyckoff Police Detective Sgt. Joseph Soto investigated and was initially led by the homeowner to consider the owner of Tyger Pools of Oakland as a possible suspect. Earlier that same day the homeowner had a "heated" telephone discussion regarding an unpaid bill of about $300 that was in dispute, according to Wyckoff Police. A short time later this individual from the pool company showed up at her home and they continued to argue about the bill. He was turned away without receiving payment, cops said.

Det. Sgt. Soto with the assistance of the Oakland Police Department identified the co-owners of Tyger Pools as Jonathan M. Capparelli, of Pawnee Drive, age 22; and Matthew Usherenko, of Oswego Avenue, age 21.

Usherenko was identified as the person that had called the homeowner and disputed the unpaid bill and later showed up at the home, according to police.

Sgt. Soto was further able to identify friends of both men, one of whom had a truck that was seen by the homeowner fleeing the scene after the damage. The investigation further disclosed that the men had enlisted the help of Christopher R. Turton, of McNomee Street, age 22; and Sebastian J. Wolff, of Grandview Avenue, age 18, Chief Fox said.

Capparelli and Usherenko turned themselves into police and provided a statement regarding the involvement of everyone in the crime, he added.

The men allegedly conspired together to seek revenge of the unpaid pool bill, with a plan that one of them would cut down the tree in the front yard, while the others would throw the large logs at the car, police said.

The logs used were not from the tree that was cut down but were brought with them for the purpose they intended, according to Fox.

Each of the men was charged with one count of third degree criminal mischief with an estimated value of the tree replacement and car damage at $5,500. They were released in their own recognizance and the indictable offense will be referred to Bergen County Superior Court.

Fox expressed thanks to the Oakland Police for their assistance, and praised Sgt. Soto for his investigative skills.

“Their actions are beyond stupid," Fox said of the four men arrested. "They caused a significant amount of damage, they used a chainsaw at 11 o'clock at night, and to think that between these four men, not a single one of them suggested to the others that this might not be a good idea over a disputed $300 bill defies all common sense.”

There was no answer at the offices of Tyger Pools on Monday afternoon.

Have a question or news tip? Contact editor Joseph M. Gerace at Joseph.Gerace@patch.com, or find us on Facebook and Twitter. For news straight to your inbox every morning, sign up for our daily newsletter.

SR res December 08, 2012 at 01:32 PM
It's not right to not pay a bill. It's even worse to act the way these fools did. I'm sure they did great work because the amount of effort needed to pull off that much vandalism shows they're hard workers. Too bad their next jobs will be picking up trash in orange jumpsuits.
SR res December 08, 2012 at 01:34 PM
@Wyckoff represent Please stop bragging that you graduated high school. Your grammar is offensive.
Poland springs December 09, 2012 at 12:06 AM
These boys reading all of these comments feel bad enough, I've seen these boys work and they are VERY hard working. The work they also do is amazing. Better than most of these landscapers and pool cleaners out there, they care for the work they do. But what they did was wrong and they pushed there luck to far, but the women should have also paid there bill a while ago instead of acting like she never got it for months. All I know is I am going to keep using Seb's Touch as my landscaper. Never had. Any problems with him
Poland springs December 09, 2012 at 12:16 AM
Jim and John U unglet, have any of u ran ur own company's? It's not as easy as u think it is... These boys just had the sack to do to what nobody could do, to just stand up for what they think is right. And they though was right just went really far with it. But the women had it coming to her. Hopefully people won't screw small business
707282 December 09, 2012 at 02:06 AM
Sadly they won't do any time for this crime. Likely they will get fined and probation. Having this all over bergen county news can't be to good for buisness. There buisness again is T Y G E R P O O L S E R V I C E AND S E B'S T O U C H Landscaping in Oakland (owner Sebastian Wolff) ENJOY THE ADVERTISING Boys!!! LOL
John A. Unglert December 09, 2012 at 07:09 AM
"Poland springs" - I happen to own and operate my own company. My average customer monthly invoice is $55K USD. When a customer is 30 days over due we request payment via hard copy letter. At 60 days we again request payment, via hard copy letter, return receipt. At 90 days we shut down the customers services until payment has been made. Should we not receive payment within 120 days we turn the problem over to our lawyer and let him handle it. It is one of the things we have a lawyer for. I do NOT go out and destroy our customers switches or start cutting his fiber optic cables. Then again, I live in a civilized business world where we use full words, captial letters and punctuation also.
JDBlackhawk December 09, 2012 at 01:54 PM
Wow the bar lowers another notch. Make sure guys you put this on your resume for your next job, if you can find one. And anybody who can remotely justify this, is insane. Next time, hire the mob to do your work. At least they have a code of honor and make consequences for non-payment clear.
Concerned4Society December 09, 2012 at 04:08 PM
I'm so glad these morons got caught. Hope they have deep pockets! If there was a dispute with a bill, it should have been handled legally...but some people just can't wait for justice. People don't normally dispute bills unless there was something wrong with the service rendered and, judging from this guy's actions, it doesn't sound like he's too smart so he probably either over-billed or simply didn't do the job right. How on earth did they think they'd get away with using a chain saw at 11:00 at night without anyone noticing it? Idiots!
Poland springs December 09, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Okay John A I have more respect for u now. Now tell me, If those boys gave this case of 300 dollars to a lawyer and took it to small clams court, honestly! How much would they honestly be putting back in there pocket.... And how much time would be wasted... Again I am not saying what they did was right! But they shouldn't have pushed it that far...
Poland springs December 09, 2012 at 07:10 PM
707282, hey thanks for the advertising! And Jim.. Thank you as we'll
John A. Unglert December 09, 2012 at 10:41 PM
"Poland springs", you mightwish t ask yourself, first, how much are they, honestly, puting back in their pockets now ? Was all of this worth $ 300.00 USD ? The debt, now, has reversed, in so many ways, that the $ 300.00 USD becomes nothing. The actual damages, now they each will need representation in the future, if they lose their cases the court costs, the costs of fines, loss of business from the bad press, the list will go on. So who really "won" anything here ? And acting in the way they did puts all of them in a very bad light withi future clients. I would suggest any new client's will be very suspect of their work and poissible conflict resolution. Is that, alone, worth $ 300.00 USD in itself ? To answer your question, using a lawyer they will pay more than the debt is worth. Had they just held themselves in check and discussed the matter with the client in a civilized way theymight have gotten something. OR they might just write off the customer as "too much trouble" and gotten nothing except the satisfaction of never doing business with that person again.
Donna Colucci December 09, 2012 at 10:55 PM
OMG I cannot believe what I am reading (the story and then the comments)...What in God's Name is our World coming to...Men...Boys...NOBODY deserves their property destroyed. WOW!!!
John A. Unglert December 09, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Welcome to the furure Ms. Colucci ! The Barbarians are at the gates with the Vandals not far behind. Civil discourse is dead, writing is dead, punctuation is gone, proper use of words, is gone. Now we just act on the immediate without thought to the ramifications or the future. In this case The Law Of Diminishing Returns seems to apply.
Jen December 10, 2012 at 03:22 AM
That's pretty ironic that you're judging everyone else's grammar and punctuation when in that very sentence you misspelled "capital letters" haha. Have you even read your own posts? What's "bizzare"? Do you mean "bizarre"? And "The Recod"? I'm assuming you mean "The Record". And "appropiate"? You're missing an "r" in there. And "gong" (going), "severly" (severely), "responsibile" (responsible), "consiquences" (consequences), "you mightwish t ask" (not too sure), "puting", "withi", "poissible", "furure"... And for the love of God, there is no space before a "?". With such hypocritism going on here, I really couldn't care less what anyone has to say, and I knew I would get bashed for sticking up (even so slightly) for these kids. What annoys me is that I'm sure you are at least double the age of these kids and you feel it is ok to bash them for a week now as if they inflicted physical harm on someone or set fire to the customer's house or ran over their dog. Since you are all for everyone's rights (such as the right to dispute a bill) then everyone has the right to their opinion and right to freedom of speech. My opinion (though not popular) is that they weren't right, they are getting punished, but I don't feel so bad for the customer. That OPINION doesn't make me wrong about anything I said. I also don't really care how much I get bashed and trashed, I wanted everyone to know you can't just bad mouth kids for a week now and think everyone will just agree with you.
usa December 10, 2012 at 03:32 AM
i can only speak for myself but i will continue to use Seb's Touch, By far the best landscaper i ever had and hes only 18 years old! i only wish him the best of luck.
usa December 10, 2012 at 03:36 AM
i can also say that he wont be going to jail... like some other people would like to see.... seb also feels really bad. especially after reading most of these pricks comments. the kid made a childish mistake, dont need to make him kill himself!
Joseph M. Gerace (Editor) December 10, 2012 at 04:48 AM
It's not nice to impersonate others. joseph.gerace@patch.com if you'd like to talk for real.
Mei Won Sum December 10, 2012 at 02:17 PM
If Seb gets to the county lockup, I bet he'll certainly be know for his special touch.
Jen December 10, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Boomer, you toe (haha), if you didn't live in such a bubble you'd know what a truely heinous crime was. Child predators are criminals, rapists and sex offenders are criminals, arsonists are criminals, drug dealers are criminals, bank robbers and muggers are criminals. And though these kids are now technically criminals too, they are not as bad as everyone is making them out to seem. If you didn't live in such a bubble yourself, you'd be able to see that. So you need to "like get over yourself". Seems like everyone in Bergen County is on such a high horse looking down on a bunch of kids that made a mistake. I don't feel they are criminal to the core and have no soul. Seems like you don't need to judge.
Jim December 10, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Just make sure you pay your bill on time!
Wyckoff Man December 10, 2012 at 09:47 PM
I own my own business and have been on the losing side of someone not paying their bill. It sucks and yes it costs time and money to go after these losers but it never crossed my mind to cause them bodily harm or cause damage upon their property. These are the actions of poorly educated, poorly raised young men. I would praise them for starting their own business' but their actions prove they are not ready to be part of the business world or civilized society. I find it utterly abhorrent that anyone commenting on this trail would even think that what they did was ok by any standards. Is it ok to not pay your bill? No, but let the response be equal to the problem!!
es December 11, 2012 at 02:01 PM
I hope they stick it to those saps.
LakerFan December 13, 2012 at 04:12 PM
While these guys (Seb's Touch Landscaping and Tyger Pools) may be the stupidest contractors of the year, the most brainless are the all the people supporting their actions on here. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the people that would support stupidity like this aren't the type of people who hire out their pool and lawn care :).
sam December 15, 2012 at 05:53 PM
REALLY????!!! This is actually the way you think?? If they followed the proper channels, they would still have a business and get the money, if it was actually due to them. What is wrong with people these days? Your thought process will land you in jail one day. Your wrong, admit it.
sam December 15, 2012 at 05:57 PM
KUDOS! Well said John! These people, at any given age, need to learn boundaries! By the sound if some on here, they are parents who never grew up themselves, therefor rendering them incapable of teaching their children right from wrong.
sam December 15, 2012 at 06:01 PM
By chance, is Jen the mother of one of these boys? She seems to be overlooking the obvious here. They made a mistake, a very stupid mistake at that. Now as adults, they need to pay the price for that. That's it. Let these men redeem themselves without having the mommy figure here fight their battle.
sam December 15, 2012 at 06:02 PM
Loyalty is a fine trait. Just make sure you pay him on time, or he may vandalize your property. Good Luck
Jen December 19, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Your comments are too dumb to even respond to. It pains me to reply to you because you obviously can't read. If you could read, then you would have seen that I agreed they made a mistake and didn't overlook anything. Are you just frustrated that not everyone in the world agrees with you 100%? I'm not really sure what you are arguing for since you seem to just reiterate what I've already said (but dumbed down a bit). And no, I am no one's mother. Thank you for the compliment of assuming I was much older then I actually am. I am assuming you are the "victim's" kid brother because you don't sound mature enough to be older than 17.
sam December 19, 2012 at 03:26 AM
cool thanks! I'm not arguing at all, your obviously too ignorant to see the point. Oh, you responded to my comments, who's the dumb one now?!
Bob Tyson December 24, 2012 at 06:05 PM
These guys did a very dumb thing(more like highschool reaction) and they will be out thousands instead of $300. I hear a lot of good comments about thier work and believe they will survive if thier work ethic is as strong as it sounds. No life was lost(except the poor tree's) and the damage can be repaired. If all they get are fines and community service, so be it. That is what are system decides. They have learned a hard & expensive lesson. I know I have done some stupid things when I was thier age, but that is the process of learning. My parents taught me very well but I thought I knew better. Live & Learn. P.S. Getting thier chops busted on the Patch is part of the lesson..... Suck it up.. P.P.S. Wood they do it again? I do knot know. We will leaf it for tomorrow.

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