A man was arrested on charges of reckless conduct and illegally firing a weapon after he was seen shooting mistletoe out of trees near a shopping center in Georgia.
William Robinson, 66, was apprehended after he was spotted using a shotgun to "harvest" branches of mistletoe from the trees near the North Dekalb Mall in the Atlanta suburbs. Robinson denied having a vendetta against mistletoe; rather, he said, he was merely trying to collect enough to bring to a holiday party.
According to Mekka Parish of the Dekalb County Police Department, Robinson was cooperative but he "did make some statements that he was surprised he was getting arrested."
While not a widely known way of collecting mistletoe, shooting the plant out of trees is more common than you may think.
A staff member at the Big John Christmas tree store in Buckhead, Ga. says that going hunting with a gun for mistletoe, which is a parasitic plant that attaches to trees, is "the typical rural way to get the mistletoe out of the tree."
Robinson later said he had used a shotgun to gather mistletoe many times, but usually did his "harvesting" in the wilderness rather than mall parking lots.
In a populated area, it might have been more prudent to simply pick up a sprig for $4.99.
Instead Robinson paid a much higher price for his holiday decorations; after he was arrested he was booked and spent the night in jail.
"It was kind of scary at my age to be in a police car for the first time ever," said Robinson.
However, Robinson did not have to miss too much holiday cheer. "I did get out just in time for the party but I didn't have the mistletoe to take," he said. "So I went without the mistletoe."