I’m no thief, so let me get that out of the way real quick. :-)
Yesterday, while riding my bike with my 4 year old (he’s already an expert rider!), we passed a cherry tree next to the street that had recently been trimmed to keep the branches off the sidewalk. At the very end of one of the cut branches (directly behind the cut) was a ~12" diameter burl.
The tree itself is located in a nature preserve next to a busy street. I’m pretty sure there is a hefty penalty for “destroying” wildlife in a nature preserve, even though, if I were to take that burl, I would only be cutting 12" off an already cut branch. It’s not like cutting the tree down to get to the base.
I know legally it’s wrong, but ethically, is it such a bad thing? Someone estimated that we all break at least 3 laws a day unknowingly, and the law is so Byzantine that it’s become completely disconnected from morality, so I don’t give the law (other than God’s laws) much weight. Plus, as a taxpayer, I have some ownership stake in the park and all its resources. Also, since the branch was cut immediately after the burl, I suspect the guy trimming it may have a plan to come later for it, so if I don’t take it, someone will almost guaranteed.
It’s like a piece of candy being held out to tease me. :-(