By COLIN HARRIS
WEATHERSFIELD - James Baxter went to sleep Saturday evening with a front lawn full of firewood. When Baxter woke up, the only thing remaining was his spray-painted sign that said "Not for sale and not for free."
Over the past couple of years, township crews trimmed a large tree on Baxter's property to keep it from interfering with nearby utility lines. In late January, Baxter requested the tree be removed to prevent a possible collapse onto the house he rents on Tibbets Wick Road.
"(The township) had been trimming one side of the tree and removing roots on the road side of it," Baxter said. "I just didn't want to see the tree collapse onto my house because the weight was all on (the house side) of the tree."
With the removal of the tree came a stockpile of firewood, and the Weathersfield resident said he planned to give the wood to an elderly friend in western Pennsylvania. Baxter estimated the value of the firewood at at least $200.
Cold weather prevented Baxter from making the trip across the border, and he said the stockpile became a target for people looking to flip firewood for a quick buck.
"I had so many people come up and knock on my door asking if they could have the wood for free," Baxter said. "Eventually, I just put up that sign to let people know that the firewood wasn't for sale and that it was promised to someone else."
Baxter said he filed a report with the Weathersfield Police Department and admitted that there is probably little that can be done to catch the person or persons who made off with his firewood. But he did make a change to that sign that once stood in front of the firewood on how lawn.
Now the sign sits in front of the remaining tree stump, alerting the thief that "You forgot this."
"I just wanted to put that sign up to hopefully aggravate the thief a little bit," Baxter said. "I just can't stand liars and I can't stand thieves, and I just don't understand why people would do something like this."
Weathersfield police officers assigned to the case were unavailable for comment on Thursday.