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Vernon Parish man charged with fuel theft

A Leesville man is accused of stealing fuel from and causing damage to a logging operation in Vernon Parish, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry.

Bradley Keith Thomas, 28, is charged with two counts of theft of fuel and one count of simple criminal damage to property over $1,000 on Aug. 22. He was released from the Vernon Parish Jail on $4,000 bond on Aug. 23.

A logging operation on Cow Pen Road experienced multiple fuel thefts last month. On Aug. 17, a logger had 20 gallons of fuel missing and dirt was put into the a skidder's fuel tank. That resulted in damages and repair amounting to $2,332.

LDAF and Vernon Parish Sheriff's Office investigators linked Thomas to that and another fuel theft that occurred in February. In that incident, LDAF reported that 50 gallons of diesel was stolen from a different logging operation on David Mitkiff Road in Vernon Parish.

If convicted, Thomas could be imprisoned not more than six months or may be fined not more than $1,000 or both for the theft charge. On the criminal damage charge, Thomas could be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned with or without hard labor for not more than two years or both.

“Crimes in the timber industry take all forms,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM. “Regardless of whether you harvest timber without consent or steal fuel and damage equipment, the LDAF Forestry Enforcement group is going to work diligently with local officials to help bring those responsible for the crime to justice.”

LDAF reminds the public that people accused of any crime are considered innocent until proven guilty.

The public is urged to report any and all forestry-related crimes to the LDAF Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500 or the LDAF 24-hr hotline at 1-855-452-5323.


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