Police Arrest Harvey Updyke for Poisoning of Auburn's Toomer's Corner Trees

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A 62-year-old Alabama fan, Harvey Updyke, has been arrested for his involvement in the poisoning of the Toomer's corner trees that are an Auburn tradition.

Toomer's corner trees are actually oaks, located at the intersection of Magnolia and College streets in Auburn. At that corner are according to Wikipedia, "two massive old-growth oak trees, and anytime anything good happens concerning Auburn, toilet paper can usually be found hanging from the trees."

That practice is known as "rolling the corner." It is thought that the tradition originated in the 1950's. With the news that was revealed about the poisoning of the trees, residents came to "roll the corner" one more time on Wednesday.

On Thursday, Auburn police arrested Harvey Updyke, 62, from Dadeville, AL. He is charged with criminal mischief for applying an herbicide at Toomer's Corner. The Toomer's Corner trees are estimated to be 130 years old, and Harvey Updyke applied Spike 80DF, an herbicide commonly used to kill trees, in lethal amounts. Auburn University experts believe the trees are unlikely to survive.

Auburn University officials were alerted to the situation after a person called into the nationally syndicated radio broadcast of Paul Finebaum on January 27. That person said he had poisoned the trees.

The person called himself Al and claimed to be from Dadeville, AL. Updyke's middle name is Almorn. A caller on the Montgomery, AL radio show "Sportsline" identified the man as Harvey Updike of Dadeville, AL.

Notably, once the incident was made public, Alabama Crimson Tide athletic director Mal Moore released a statement. He said,

It’s an awful act, a terrible thing to do. A lot of what makes our two programs so special is our many unique traditions. So, hearing this about Toomer’s Corner is upsetting to me in several ways. I certainly hope that whomever is responsible is held accountable.

Earlier, a Facebook page for Updyke had been found, but it's since been deleted. On it, he claimed to be a retired Texas State Trooper. A photo on the page showed him holding a baby and wearing a houndstooth Alabama cap.

Harvey Updyke faces one count of criminal mischief in the first degree, which is a Class C felony. If convicted, he could face one to 10 years in prison.

You can watch a local station's video report below, as well, to find out more about the miscreant.

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