In a solemn moment five years ago, Paul Laming planted an evergreen tree to honor his dead brother.

Now the tree is gone, too - cut down and stolen from Laming's front yard in broad daylight Tuesday while he was running an errand."Now I've had a piece of my heart taken out twice," Laming said Thursday. "What do they want next? A pint of blood, or a gallon?"

He figures the thieves probably got $50 for the tree. He wondered who could steal a Christmas tree less than a week before the holiday.

Laming and his father planted the tree in May 1989, two months after George Laming died of a heart attack at age 35.

The 3-foot tree grew to 11 feet and dominated the front yard. It even became a neighborhood landmark.

"I hoped that maybe a part of him in spirit would go on," Laming said.

"It's kind of ironic because his life was cut short and so was the tree's."

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