AUBURN, AL (WBRC) - Federal authorities are involved in the investigation of the poisoning of trees at Toomer's Corner in Auburn.
Paul Finebaum, a syndicated sports talk show host in Birmingham, Alabama, told FOX6 News Wednesday federal investigators were involved in the case. Finebaum also said authorities are worried the poison could be in the groundwater supply.
Earlier Wednesday, Auburn University announced old oak trees located at Toomer's Corner had been poisoned. The university said a herbicide commonly used to kill trees was deliberately applied to the trees and that they do not expect the trees to survive.
Auburn University officials were alerted to the situation after a person called into Paul Finebaum's radio broadcast on January 27 saying he had poisoned the trees. The show posted a clip of the audio on its website, Finebaum.com, where a man calling himself "Al from Dadeville" claimed to have poisoned the trees. He claimed he did it because he said he saw a picture of Auburn students rolling Toomer's Corner the day Paul "Bear" Bryant died in 1983 and another picture of Cam Newton's jersey on the statue of Paul "Bear" Bryant in Tuscaloosa.
"I put Spike 80 DF in them," the caller said. "They will die."
Finebaum asked the caller why.
"Do you think I care? I really don't," the caller said.
Jay Gogue, President of Auburn University, released the following statement Wednesday afternoon:
"We will take every step we can to save the Toomer's oaks, which have been the home of countless celebrations and a symbol of the Auburn spirit for generations of Auburn students, fans, alumni and the community.
"It is understandable to feel outrage in reaction to a malicious act of vandalism. However, we should live up to the example we set in becoming national champions and the beliefs expressed in our Auburn Creed. Individuals act alone, not on behalf of anyone or any place, and all universities are vulnerable to and condemn such reprehensible acts."
University of Alabama Athletic Director Mal Moore issued the following statement on the incident:
"It's an awful act, a terrible thing to do. A lot of what makes our two programs so special is our many unique traditions. So, hearing this about Toomer's Corner is upsetting to me in several ways. I certainly hope that whoever is responsible is held accountable."
Anyone with information is asked to call Auburn police at (334) 501-3110 or anonymously by voice or text on the tip line at (334) 246-1391.
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