BATON ROUGE – Bradley Keith Thomas of Leesville, LA, was arrested for crimes related to logging equipment in Vernon Parish.
On August 22, 2022, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s (LDAF) Enforcement Agents arrested 28-year-old Bradley Thomas for two counts of theft of fuel and one count of simple criminal damage to property over $1000. Davis was booked into the Vernon Parish Sheriff Detention center. The bond was set at $4,000, which he posted on August 23, 2022.
Earlier this month, a logging operation experienced multiple fuel thefts while cutting timber on Cow Pen Rd. in Vernon Parish. On Wednesday, August 17, a logger had 20 gallons of fuel missing, and dirt was put in the skidder’s fuel tank, which resulted in $2,332.04 worth of damages and repairs to the equipment.
As a result, the LDAF Forestry Enforcement Division and Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted a joint investigation. Investigators for both agencies were able to locate a suspect due to evidence left at the scene.
Investigators also linked the suspect to a separate fuel theft in February 2022 that resulted in fifty gallons of diesel being stolen from a separate logger on David Mitkiff Rd. in Vernon Parish.
If convicted, Thomas could be imprisoned not more than six months or may be fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both for the theft charge. On the criminal damage charge, Thomas could be fined not more than one thousand dollars 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.”
Note: All persons accused of any crime are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
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.