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Three men charged with stealing Christmas tree to pay for cutting down tree

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Paul Vogel looks over the remains of a Colorado blue spruce that was cut down by vandals along 64th Avenue North in Cass County. Vogel and his father planted the tree 20 years ago. David Samson / The Forum2 / 2

NORTH FARGO - The three men charged in connection with stealing a Colorado Blue Spruce tree last Christmas, won't go to jail, but they will pay up. 

It's an update to a story WDAY-TV first brought you in December.

That's when Paul Vogel in North Fargo discovered a longtime family treasure had been cut down near his farm's driveway.

The Christmas tree had been planted 30-years ago by Vogel and his father.

After a lot of his own detective work, Vogel was able to discover who was behind the theft, after seeing the tree being loaded into a truck after the holidays.

Benjamin Shepherd, Brett Braseth, and Kyle Braaten were charged with taking the tree and putting it up at a house near NDSU.

After several court hearings, the men finally were told they would each pay $950 to replace the stolen tree.

Kevin Wallevand

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia and the Middle East. He is an Emmy and Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

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