A Columbia logger is accused of timber theft of more than a quarter of a million dollars, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF).
James H. Rowland, 73, was arrested Feb. 17 by the LDAF Forestry Enforcement Division following an investigation that alleged Rowland withheld proceeds from timber harvested from a 1,300-acre tract in Caldwell Parish from December 2021 to January 2023. According to an LDAF press release, Rowland "failed to report and pay for the loads of timber, thus depriving the timber owners of their share of the proceeds from the timber sale."
LDAF agents allege Rowland kept the proceeds from the timber, in which its delivered valued was determined to be $283,996.88, the release stated.
“Whether it involves theft or arson, LDAF’s Forestry Enforcement Division takes all forestry-related crimes seriously,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain. “In addition to educating landowners on best practices associated with managing their timber, we’re committed to assisting with investigations that help victims recover any stolen profits.”
Rowland is accused of timber theft. Anyone convicted of the criminal charge when the value of the timber is $25,000 or more faces a fine of up to $10,000 and prison sentence of up to 10 years.
The public is urged to report any forestry-related crimes to the LDAF Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500 or LDAF’s 24-hour hotline at 1-855-452-5323.