Auburn police arrest Toomer’s suspect

Published 12:03 am Friday, February 18, 2011

Auburn Police arrested the man accused of dispensing herbicide on the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in downtown Auburn.

Police arrested 62-year-old Harvey A. Updyke Jr. of Dadeville at 1:26 a.m. on Thurs., Feb. 17.

Updyke is charged with criminal mischief first degree, and was taken to the Lee County Detention Center on a $50,000 bond.

The 130-year-old trees, part of a long-running tradition for Auburn Tiger fans, are not expected to survive the herbicidal poisoning.

“This is good news for the campus and community, especially since we delayed announcing the bad news about the trees for a few days to protect the investigation that was in progress,” said Auburn University President Jay Gouge. “We’re proud of the City of Auburn’s police department and hope this arrest brings a sense of resolution to our fans.”

The Auburn Police Division is receiving assistance in the investigation from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, U.S. Marshals Service, State of Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries (Pesticide Management Section), Tallapoosa County Sheriff’s Office, Dadeville Police Department and Auburn University.

-Staff Reports