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Is nothing sacred?!? People have been illegally cutting down spruce trees to sell as Christmas trees in parts of Minnesota this year.

Outside of perhaps stealing from a church, religious organization or another non-profit group, is there anything lower than cutting down a tree on somebody else's land to then sell as a Christmas tree? Talk about being a Grinch, right? But that's exactly what's happening in parts of Minnesota this year.

According to this Minnesota Post story, the Department of Natural Resources in parts of northern Minnesota on the Iron Range has been busy this fall trying to track down who's been cutting down spruce trees-- most likely to sell them as Christmas trees or parts of other holiday displays.

The story notes that the thieves don't actually cut down the entire tree, just the top of the spruce-- which, when potted, looks just like a lovely, festive miniature Christmas tree, perfect for decorating your home this season.

This MPR story says the DNR has been battling reports of tree theft since the middle of September. DNR officers in the story say while it happens every year, they believe it's even worse this year thanks to the pandemic.

That's because spruce suppliers from Canada have been unable to sell their product across the border here in the U.S., so thieves have been working overtime to make up the difference. And they've been busy: As MPR notes in the story:

So far this season, DNR conservation officers in Minnesota have seized well over 15,000 illegally-cut spruce tops-- the most they've ever confiscated in a single year.

The story also says the practice of illegally cutting spruce tops, though it doesn't necessarily kill the tree (a spruce tree can regrow another top in about 5 years, the story said), IS having a negative impact on Minnesota's LEGAL Christmas tree growers, who secure the proper permits with the DNR to harvest trees.

Sheesh. Now, if all this talk of Grinches illegally cutting down Christmas trees has you down, keep scrolling to get in the spirit of the season by checking out the best holiday light displays in southeast Minnesota!

Listen to Curt St. John from 6 to 10 a.m. on Quick Country 96.5
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NEW PHOTOS: Best Christmas Light Displays in Rochester & Southeast Minnesota