RICHMONDVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Environmental Conservation Officers investigated a complaint from a retired ECO about a trespasser stealing ginseng from posted property. Ginseng is a highly sought-after and protected plant in New York.

According to the retired ECO, an individual was observed parking next to posted signs and entering the woods with what appeared to be a bag. The complainant also observed a bag of mushrooms in the vehicle.

ECO Burgess initially responded but did not locate the subject. She returned the following day and observed the reported vehicle. The suspect was seen exiting the woods.

When ECO Burgess confronted the subject, he admitted he knew he was on private property but claimed he was simply mushroom hunting. ECO Vencak responded to assist with the investigation. The subject was ticketed for trespassing on private property.

Technical Sergeant Schoonover and K-9 Ratchet responded to the scene to track the subject’s path. They soon located a disturbed and broken patch of ginseng plants, a discarded jacket with pockets filled with fresh ginseng roots, and a screwdriver used as a digging tool.

Charges are pending against the subject, including petit larceny, criminal mischief, and multiple violations of ginseng regulations.