Just a day after they had been planted near the base of the jetty adjacent to the famed Wedge surf spot, three donated saplings were ripped from the dirt Thursday, and one was found floating in the nearby channel, according to Newport Beach residents and officials.
Two of the trees are missing.
“Who would do this?” Councilwoman Diane Dixon, who represents the Balboa Peninsula, said Friday morning.
On Wednesday, about 50 people attended a dedication and planting ceremony for the trees, which were donated by Arbor Real Estate.
The Myoporum saplings were planted to replace three of four wind-bent Myoporums that for years had leaned over the path to the Wedge before they were felled by a storm in February.
The young trees looked like bushes against the furrowed trunk of the one surviving tree, which surfers from the Wedge Preservation Society estimate to be about 60 years old.
But the saplings didn’t have time to take root.
Newport Beach police received a call at about noon Thursday from someone reporting that the trees had been stolen. Officers responded and took a theft report but have not identified any suspects, police said Friday.
Dixon received a note later Thursday afternoon from city officials that the trees had been vandalized.
“I’m saddened and disappointed that these saplings have been destroyed,” Dixon said. “We were all so pleased to commemorate the restoration of these iconic trees at the Wedge. The next day to have the trees vandalized is a tragedy. We want to get to the bottom of this.”
City officials are making plans to replace the torn-out trees.
This isn’t the first incident surrounding the planting of the trees, Dixon said.
On Tuesday, city officials discovered that a plaque installed weeks earlier to commemorate the tree planting ceremony had been stolen.
It isn’t clear whether the two incidents are related.
2:10 p.m.: This article was updated with information from Newport Beach police.
This article was originally published at 8:40 a.m.