A Newhall resident spotted just the trees he was looking for to plant in his yard on Friday afternoon.
Pulling his pickup truck alongside the trees, he got out a shovel and proceeded to unearth the trees and load them into the bed of the pickup.
Trouble is, the trees weren’t in a commercial nursery. They were growing along the Golden State Freeway, near Wayne Mills Road in Valencia.
Sheriff’s deputies received a call around 2:30 p.m. about the light-fingered landscaper and CHP officers arrived to hold on to the culprit until deputies could arrest him.
Nicholas Stafford, 54, is now a guest of the county, in custody at the Santa Clarita Valley station.
“The trees were valued high enough to make it grand theft,” said Sgt. James Schallert, making Stafford’s situation a felonious one.
The bail amount was still being determined.