My brother-in-law, who worked at the airport at the time,
told me this story, and I found the news report concerning it.
Who: Bart Bellin
Where: Gerald R. Ford International Airport
What: Cutting down a landscape pine tree at the Gerald R. Ford Airport in Grand Rapids, Michigan
- The tree was about 15 feet tall.
- The tree was part of the newly installed landscaping at the airport.
- The landscaped tree initially cost around $1,500.
- Bellin cut it down for his home’s Christmas celebration.
- He cut it down with a handsaw — in a few minutes.
- There were no security cameras directed at that location in 2005.
- Bellin accidentally dropped his check book while cutting down the tree.
- The police had examined the scene but had not discovered the checkbook.
- The custodian team was tasked with cutting the leftover stump to ground level.
- The custodian team, midst the snow cover at the airport, found the checkbook.
- Bellin had cut the tree’s trunk shorter in order to accommodate their room’s height.
- The police went to his home, and brought the leftover custodial cutoff.
- The police did not have a warrant to search Bellin’s home
- Nevertheless, Bellin’s cut off was left outside of his house.
- The Bellin cutoff was found at his home.
- The Bellin cutoff was matched up with the custodial cutoff.
- The Christmas tree was seized and given to a ministry who gave it to a family.
- Bellin pleaded guilty to larceny and destruction of property and fined.
- “What were you thinking” — Judge Sara Smolenski
- “It was a foolish choice . . . I wish I could take it back.” — Bart Bellin
This article does not contain all the information shared by my brother-in-law about the incident.
Key Biblical Thoughts:
- 10 Commandments
- the world, the flesh, and the devil
- foolishness / folly
(use whatever information, quotes, or details you find useful)
. . . . When people do wrong, they honestly believe that they will not be caught, and some might not be by the powers that be in this world. However, the Lord has a way of helping that process in this world by simply have a checkbook dropped at the scene — no miracles, just providence — providential events on all different levels from the custodial team, to tree stumps publicly left in the open, to matching cutoffs . . . .
A BigIdea: “Something’s You Can’t Take Back”