Daily Dose of Great Police Work: Infamous "Brighton Tree Ninja" Caught in the Act


On Wednesday, April 15, 2015, BPD detectives from District D-14 (Brighton) arrested a man after he was observed damaging a tree with a hammer in the area of 326 Washington Street, Brighton.  

Earlier this month, Boston police detectives initiated a surveillance investigation in the area 326 Washington Street, Brighton. This investigation was part of an ongoing operation seeking to identify and apprehend the individual(s) who for several years has been killing trees in the Brighton area and eluded capture. Over the past several years this “Brighton Tree Ninja,” would either chop down or damage beyond saving, young trees that were planted in Brighton.

Over the past several weeks detectives have been gathering video evidence as part of this operation. As a result of their investigation, detectives set up surveillance in the area of the Brighton Elks Club today, April 15, 2015. While in the area, detectives observed a male matching the suspect’s description enter the Elks parking lot and begin to cut down a tree. As detectives approached the suspect, he immediately attempted to conceal the hammer he was using to damage the tree. The suspect was ordered not to move and was taken into custody by the detectives. 

Arrested was Joseph Rizza, 65 of Brighton. Rizza was charged with: 5 Counts of Willful and Malicious Destruction of Property, and Dangerous Weapon Unlawful to Carry. He was arraigned today in Brighton District Court. This investigation remains active