Infamous ‘Tree Ninja’ Caught in the Act by Boston Police Detectives in Brighton


At about 7:55 PM on Monday January 4, 2016, detectives assigned to District D-14 (Brighton) made an onsite vandalism arrest as part of an active and ongoing investigation in the area of 27 Peaceable Street. 

The detectives were performing surveillance as a result of several recent complaints of trees being damaged on Peaceable Street, Winship Street and Academy Hill Road. Detectives observed the target of their investigation, Joe Rizza, 66, of Brighton, enter private property at 27 Peaceable Street and damage a tree by snapping a branch off with his hands. Detectives then approached the suspect and placed him in custody without incident. The suspect, also known as the Brighton "Tree Ninja," is currently out on bail in relation to a similar case from April of 2015 which is still pending in court. Detectives also believe the suspect is responsible for six other vandalism incidents in recent months to trees in the neighborhood and will seek complaints accordingly. The suspect will appear in Brighton District Court on charges of Willful and Malicious Destruction of Property.