Leesville man accused of timber thefts

Published 12:03 pm Sunday, August 21, 2022

A Vernon Parish man has been arrested and charged for multiple timber and timber-related thefts across Vernon and Rapides Parishes, according to authorities.

James Travis Johnson, 48, of Leesville and formerly of Pitkin, was booked into the Vernon Parish Detention Center on Aug. 9 for one count of timber theft less than $25,000 and three counts of making false statements regarding rightful ownership of forest products.
Authorities with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry reported that Johnson was released on $15,000 bond on Aug. 11 and then charged later that same day for two additional accounts of timber theft less than $25,000 in Rapides Parish.
According to LDAF agents, in the weeks prior to Johnson’s Aug. 9 arrest, agents received a complaint from the owner of a 20-acre tract of timberland in Vernon Parish. The landowner reported that Johnson was hired to log the tract of land, but that Johnson allegedly did not pay for all the timber harvested off the property. Agents allege that Johnson failed to pay for loads of timber valued at $1,860.74.
LDAF authorities said they also received similar complaints regarding Johnson out of Rapides Parish. Forestry Enforcement agents reported that they received complaints from two separate landowners who claimed Johnson had been hired to log tracts of land but never paid for the timber cut and hauled from the properties.
In the second complaint, agents allege that Johnson cut a tract of timber without consent from the landowner.
No bond has been set for Johnson’s Rapides Parish charges and he remains in the Rapides Parish Jail.
If convicted, Johnson faces a fine of up to $5,000 and/or up to five years in jail for each count of timber theft. He could also face up to $1,000 in fines and/or up to one year in jail for the false statement charge.