Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hilt, California, US - Eco-saboteurs appear to be responsible for $500,000 worth of damages that are likely to drive a Medford, Oregon based logging company out of business. Employees arrived at a logging site early Monday morning to discover that someone had poured dirt and debris in fuel tanks; cut hoses, lines and belts; and ripped out computer components in log loaders and tree-shearing and de-limbing machines. According to Co-owner Steve Avgeris "this was the work of professionals," apparently they had master keys to the equipment, he added.

The letters "E.L.F." were written on some of the machines. E.L.F. is the commonly used acronym of the radical Earth Liberation Front which advocates and practices sabotage against logging companies, symbols of urban sprawl, gas guzzling Hummers and SUVs and other environmental targets. Police believe that the E.L.F. may not be responsible for the damages but that the vandals may have written at the site to throw investigators off their trail. They did not say why they did not believe that environmentalists were responsible. Avgeris said that angry hunters may be behind the destruction.

Hilltop had already logged about 150 acres of pine and Douglas fir on the remote land owned by Fruit Growers Supply Company, a supply and manufacturing affiliate of Sunkist Growers Inc. The trees were bound for lumber and plywood mills, Avgeris said. His company had contracted off and on with the landowner for about 23 years. Avgeris said he had never experienced such extensive vandalism.