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3 people arrested after memorial tree for dead teenager was cut down

The red maple was planted in memory of the late 16-year-old Nicholas Paulson.
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Police believe they have caught three people responsible for cutting down trees in Faribault – one of them planted in the memory of a teenager who died eight years ago.

At least six trees were cut down at the Faribault Soccer Complex and in the grounds of Faribault High School earlier this month. One of them was a red maple planted in memory of Faribault student Nicholas Paulson, who lost his life in 2009 at the age of 16.

On Monday, Faribault police announced they arrested three suspects – two 19-year-olds and one 18-year-old – in connection with the vandalism spree. They now face felony-level criminal damage charges.

"I’m pleased to see those responsible for this senseless act of vandalism have been identified," Police Chief Andy Bohlen said in a news release. "Any crime reported to our agency is taken seriously, and our detectives worked diligently to identify the suspects and solve this crime to help put the Paulson family’s mind at ease."

The Paulson family was devastated by the vandalism, releasing a statement reported by the Faribault Daily News: "To know that someone maliciously vandalized the area and took out the tree with no regard for others or the life of the tree, which was an extension of him, brings tears to our eyes and sorrow to our hearts."

“Although the tree can be replaced, it will never be the same," they added.

The damage left behind by the vandals can be seen in the pictures below. They were posted on Facebook by Lori Keller-Johnson.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10212096313418956&set=pcb.672975676221491&type=3&theater

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