01/22/2015 05:37 EST | Updated 01/22/2015 05:59 EST

Vancouver Maple Trees Illegally Cut Down In The Middle Of The Night

"I don’t get it, I’m a bit dumbfounded, to be honest with you."

Vancouver Park Board

A manhunt is underway for an amateur lumberjack who illegally cut down 17 maple trees in the middle of the night in a Vancouver neighbourhood.

People who live around Cambie and West 29th were shocked to find branches splayed along the street earlier this month.

The seven-year-old maple trees, planted in 2010, were about 4.5-metres tall, and had been chopped down at about waist height. Repairing the damage will cost the city about $20,000.

"I can assure you that the park board and the city would push hard for the maximum penalty, whatever that would be," said Howard Normann, the manager of urban forestry with the City of Vancouver.

The maple massacre had people wondering how no one noticed.

Normann said a rechargeable, cordless saw with a fine blade may have been used.

"If you know those kinds of tools, they're not that loud — and I don't think people would ever expect something like that would be happening," he told CBC News.

He said it's puzzling for someone to take down 17 trees, especially because they didn't block any views.

"I don’t get it, I’m a bit dumbfounded, to be honest with you," Normann told The Province.

In 2013, three men from North Vancouver faced criminal charges after 35 trees were cut down in Capilano River Regional Park, because they allegedly wanted a better view of the West Vancouver waterfront.

In 2006, an elderly woman poisoned trees blocking her view of English Bay from her West End condo.

With files from The Canadian Press

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