Former Lufkin man arrested for poisoning historic trees at Auburn

Still photo courtesy of WTVM.
Still photo courtesy of WTVM.
Still photo courtesy of WTVM.
Still photo courtesy of WTVM.

AUBURN, Ala. (Associated Press and KTRE report) - A 62-year-old Dadeville, Ala. man and former Lufkin resident has been arrested in connection with the poisoning of the historic Toomer's Corner oak trees at Auburn University.

A spokeswoman for the Lee County Sheriff Office says Harvey Almorn Updyke Jr. was arrested early Thursday morning and charged with one count of first-degree criminal mischief.

Bond was set at $50,000. If convicted, Updyke could face one to 10 years in prison.

A man claiming to be "Al from Dadeville" phoned a radio show late last month, claiming he poured herbicide around the 130-year-old oaks that are the scene of celebrations after Auburn's sports victories.

Records with the Angelina County Clerk's Office showed Updyke owned property in Angelina County during the 1970s.

Other records showed he worked as a state trooper in the Austin area.

Lufkin DPS spokesman Greg Sanches said Updyke never worked in the East Texas area as a trooper, but he knew of him as a child in the 1970s.

"My uncle played softball with him," Sanches said. "He worked at Texas Foundry [last known as Citation before its closure]."

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