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Arkansas man arrested for timber theft in Louisiana

March 11, 2008

Following a three-month-long investigation by enforcement officers with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry, a Norphlet, Ark., man was arrested yesterday afternoon on felony timber theft charges.

Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain said Harry Massey, 65, of 1118 Seven Brothers Road, Norphlet, Ark., was arrested by investigators Monday afternoon and booked into the Union Parish Detention Center on failure to remit prompt payment.

“I commend our forestry enforcement officers for their diligent efforts to ensure the public is protected from future harm committed by those who take what is not rightfully theirs,” Strain said.

The arrest was the result of a complaint filed by Betty Tatum of Corona, Calif., according to LDAF investigator Brent Hardy.

“Mrs. Tatum contracted with Mr. Massey in February 2007 to cut timber she owned in Union Parish. After the timber was harvested Mrs. Tatum began calling and attempting to get paid for her timber,” Hardy explained. “In October 2007, Mrs. Tatum filed a complaint with our department. We were able to recover records at various mills and found Mr. Massey was paid about $20,500 for Mrs. Tatum’s timber but he never paid Mrs. Tatum.”

Massey was arrested by Hardy and LDAF investigator Jim Baldwin on an affidavit and warrant out of the Third Judicial District. He was released from the Union Parish Detention Center after posting a $7,500 bond.

Anyone wanting to report suspected timber theft or other agriculture and forestry related crimes should call their LDAF district office or 1-800-558-9741.