Neighbor charged with snatching memorial tree

Kent County
Doug Kenney

Left: An undated courtesy photo of Doug Kenney. Right: A Christmas tree his mother kept in memory of him.

SPARTA, Mich. (WOOD) — A neighbor is being charged with stealing a grieving mother’s year-round Christmas tree right off her front porch in Sparta.

Sparta police say the 57-year-old woman living across the street from Jennifer Chertos is expected in court next week on a misdemeanor larceny charge. Police refused to say if the neighbor confessed to the crime.

Chertos put up the tree to memorialize her son, Doug Kenny, who was hit by a car and killed 12 years ago. She bought the tree to place on his gravesite, but its solar-power lights wouldn’t illuminate until she moved it to her front porch on Bobs Parkway.

The lighted tree was snatched from her porch on the Fourth of July. It’s unclear if it’s been recovered.

If convicted, the neighbor could get a $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail.

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