Leesville man charged for logging fuel thefts
Published 3:24 pm Tuesday, August 30, 2022
A Leesville man has been arrested for crimes related to logging equipment, according to the Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry.
Bradley Keith Thomas, 28, was arrested on Aug. 22 by LDAF enforcement agents for two counts of theft of fuel and one count of simple criminal damage to property over $1,000.
According to LDAF authorities, Thomas’ arrest occurred after a logging operation reported multiple fuel thefts earlier this month while cutting timber on Cow Pen Road in Vernon Parish.
Authorities said on Aug. 17, one logger had 20 gallons of fuel missing and dirt put in the skidder’s fuel tank, resulting in $2,332.04 worth of damages and repairs to the equipment.
Following the incident, the LDAF Forestry Enforcement Division conducted a joint operation with the Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office and identified Thomas as a suspect.
The investigation also linked Thomas to another fuel theft in February involving 50 gallons of diesel stolen from a separate logger on David Mitkiff Road.
Thomas was booked into the Vernon Parish Jail with bond set at $4,000.
If convicted, Thomas faces a sentence of not more than six months in jail and/or a fine of not more than $1,000 for each theft charge. He also faces a maximum possible sentence of two years in prison and/or a fine of not more than $1,000 for the criminal damage charge.
LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, DVM, said the arrest was confirmation that the LDAF Forestry Enforcement group takes all forms of theft in the timber industry seriously.
“Crimes in the timber industry take all forms. 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,” Strain stated.