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Residents Shocked After Seeing Saplings Uprooted In Van Cortlandt Park

NEW YORK (CBS 2) -- Bronx residents were stunned to see about 50 uprooted saplings that will never have the chance to grow in Van Cortlandt Park on Monday.

A witness told CBS 2's Hazel Sanchez that she saw nearly a dozen junior high-school age boys pull the saplings out of the ground and throw them at each other and people passing by.

"I can't comprehend why would anybody want to go rip trees out of the ground? It's a lot of trees," Woodlawn resident Bob Sowin said.

The young trees, planted deep in the park off 238th St., were part of Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Million Trees NYC initiative.

"There's very little park security, park enforcement. So on a day like today there can be as few as two park enforcement for seven thousand acres of parkland," Geoffrey Croft of NYC Park Advocates said.

Croft said the city needed to step up maintenance if they wanted to bring new life to what now looks like a tree graveyard.

"We keep putting in money for these projects, but there's no one to take care of it afterward. So you're really flushing money down the toilet unless you protect your investment," he said.

The Park's Department said it will replace each and every uprooted sapling. In the meantime the NYPD is investigating this case of vandalism.

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