Austin homeless man accused in menacing neighborhood by walking around with a chainsaw

Austin homeless man accused in menacing neighborhood
An homeless man who has been arrested five times for criminal trespassing in recent months is accused of disturbing residents in a southeastern Austin neighborhood.

Residents in a neighborhood claim that a homeless man has been terrorizing the area for months by chainsawing down trees and setting up strange wood figures.

The man was identified by Fox7 Austin to be Rami Zawaideh. He has been arrested five more times for trespassing in the Williamson Creek Greenbelt.

John James Pepper, Westlake Neighborhood Resident, said that he used to walk around with a chainsaw and then, after a week, had a pole saw.

“It’s very odd times, and just cutting and a saw going off. Then you’ll wake awake or return home, and then there are just more strange monolithic structures, just piles of what I believe is greenbelt trees.”

According to neighbors, the man was using a chainsaw for cutting down trees and creating strange wooden structures. (Fox 7 Austin)

According to court records, three of the cases involving criminal trespass have been dismissed.


On July 27, a Austin Police Department officer told Zawaideh, and others at the homeless encampment in greenbelt, that they had to leave as they were on private property. He then allegedly began packing his belongings and refused to leave.

In an arrest affidavit, the officer stated that Zawaideh refused to leave the property despite multiple attempts to convince him.

On Aug. 2, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office refused to prosecute.

Austin, Texas is well-known for its greenbelts. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

He was also arrested four times more for criminal trespassing within the area on Oct. 18, Sept. 10, Sept. 11, Sept. 20, and Oct. 18.

Two of the cases were dismissed. One case is still active while another is pending. On Thursday, the Travis County District Attorney’s Office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

He is accused of using a pole saw and a chainsaw to cut down trees on private property around the area at odd hours. (Fox 7 Austin)

Christina Coats, a Westlake Neighborhood resident, claimed that she had a strange interaction with Zawaideh recently.

Rami, an individual, comes after me, and says, “You’re stealing mine tools.” I respond, “Hold on, I’m not taking your tools. You’re not supposed be here.” Everyone has been cleared by the city. You can’t build latrines. He said, “I’m not building latrines, Satan is in the trees. What’s wrong with me, are you a Satanist?” Coats-Gatz explained to Fox 7 Austin.

“What if God says next week to him to burn the entire forest?” There are people up and down here. A retirement community is nearby. This is a threat back here.

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A request for comment from Thursday’s defense attorney, as listed in court records, was not answered by the lawyer.

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