How a neighbor’s fallen tree led to a criminal trespassing charge in Surprise

The tree ended up falling into the neighboring house’s pool, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage
Published: Aug. 20, 2022 at 11:44 PM MST
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SURPRISE (3TV/CBS 5) - How does a fallen tree lead to criminal trespassing? Sounds like something out of a movie. But that’s what happened to one family in Surprise after Friday’s storms.

The tree ended up falling into the neighboring house’s pool, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage. “This home means so much to me,” homeowner Crystal Fernandez said. “We put so much into this.” $70,000 worth of backyard landscaping, gone in a matter of minutes. It’s hard for Fernandez to accept, and even harder because she feels this whole situation could have been avoided.

“I went directly to the HOA, which is Kinney Management,” Fernandez said. “This is a huge concern to me. Something might happen.” Fernandez says she first reached out to her HOA over a year ago about debris from the tree falling into her yard and that the HOA sent courtesy letters to Progress Residential (the property owner of the house where the tree was located). But Fernandez says nothing happened.

“Every time a storm comes, even a little drizzle, I’m always worried about this tree,” she said.

This time, it fell. The damage is extensive. But when Fernandez and her family returned from lunch this afternoon, things went from bad to worse. “We notice at least seven to eight males on our property dragging things, messing up our turf,” she said. “We have no idea who these people are, what they’re doing.”

One of the men said that Progress Residential sent them to remove the tree. But Surprise Police say the people who went onto Fernandez’s property are now facing charges of criminal trespassing because they were never authorized to do so. “They acknowledged that they didn’t have our permission to be here,” Fernandez said. “They didn’t have a work order to be on our property. Left this huge mess, an unstable wall. It’s insane.”

Fernandez says after nearly two decades of owning this house, she and her family had plans to sell it and start a new adventure elsewhere. Now, she’s hoping those plans aren’t put on hold. “The memories here, the laughter, the happiness, just all turned into sadness and devastation,” Fernandez said. “And I just hope that we can pick up these pieces of this huge puzzle and move on and pass this to somebody else.”

Arizona’s Family spoke to those renting the house where the tree was originally located. They say they have only lived there for six months and hadn’t interacted with Fernandez’s family about the tree until it fell.

We reached out to Progress Residential to learn more about this situation but have yet to hear back.