The owner and operator of a Simsboro sawmill has been arrested for timber theft, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF), following a six-month investigation that began when loggers complained about not being paid for timber they delivered.
Following a six-month investigation, LDAF enforcement agents booked Robert B. Barnes, 67, of Hamburg, Arkansas, into the Lincoln Parish Detention Center on July 29 on charges of theft of timber valued at $752,395.
Barnes owned and operated a Lincoln Parish sawmill company in Simsboro, La. called Barnes & Barnes Tie LLC. In February, agents received complaints from multiple loggers who delivered timber to the sawmill owned by Barnes. The loggers told agents they had not received payment for the delivered timber.
As a result of the investigation, LDAF agents discovered Barnes misappropriated more than $752,000 in proceeds from customers.
“Timber is a major industry in the state of Louisiana and it is also a long-term investment for landowners,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. “We take the crime of timber theft very seriously and work hard to bring these criminals to justice.“
If convicted, Barnes faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or prison time up to 10 years.
To report suspected timber theft, contact the LDAF Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500 to file a complaint.