The Mendocino County Sheriff’s department announced today the resolution of the theft of a big piece of redwood. This wasn’t just any chunk of wood however, it was a redwood burl, a cross section cut from a large tree, with a volume of 90 cubic feet.
Large redwood burl slabs, especially those with interesting shapes and markings, can sell for up to $5,000 and more. They are used by craftspeople to create tables, desktops, countertops, bars, headboards and more. The theft of a large redwood burl from a Mendocino Coast Parks and Recreation property on Highway 20 in Fort Bragg was reported to the Sheriff’s Department last week.
The investigation led deputies to Butte County, where the missing burl had been sold for $3,500.00. They also identified three suspects, 49-year-old Charles Kirk Martin, 39-year-old Christopher Maki, and 29-year-old Cassidy Baker, all Fort Bragg residents.
One of the suspects, Christopher Maki, was already in jail. He had been arrested on March 9 on charges of grand theft, passing a fictitious bill, reckless driving and evading a peace officer.
Deputies found Charles Martin at his residence on Babcock Lane, off Highway 20 in south Fort Bragg in the wooded area near Noyo Basin. They interviewed him, and he tried to pass a forged document, perhaps a bill-of-sale for the burl, as genuine. Martin was arrested and booked at the Mendocino County Jail on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, and providing false evidence.
Charges for this incident are still being sought against Maki, as well as the third man, Cassidy Dale Baker. According to available records, Baker has a history of arrests going back to 2007 on charges of peeking into a home, possession of burglary tools, and drug paraphernalia. That was followed in 2010 with a charge for being under the influence of a controlled substance, driving under the influence, and child endangerment. He was charged with a felony probation violation in 2012. Charges for his involvement in the burl theft remain pending further investigation.