Auburn police arrest Toomer’s suspect
Published 11:11 pm Thursday, February 17, 2011
A 62-year-old Dadeville man was arrested early Thursday morning in connection with the poisoning of the legendary oak trees at Toomer’s Corner on the Auburn University campus.
Harvey A. Updyke Jr., who is reportedly a retired Texas ranger, was held on $50,000 bond after being charged with first-degree criminal mischief, Auburn officials said.
“This is good news for the campus and community, especially since we delayed announcing the bad news about the trees for a few days to protect the investigation that was in progress,” Auburn University President Jay Gogue said. “We’re proud of the City of Auburn’s police department and hope this arrest brings a sense of resolution to our fans.”
Auburn officials began an investigation into the poisoning of the trees after someone calling himself “Al from Dadeville” phoned the Paul Finebaum radio show to say he had put an herbicide around the oak trees, which for decades have been decorated in toiled paper by fans after major Auburn victories.
The Auburn Police Division said it is receiving assistance in the investigation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, State of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (Pesticide Management Section), Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office, Dadeville Police Department and Auburn University.