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Arrests Made in Forestry Equipment Theft & Damage

October 27, 2014

Arrests Made in Forestry Equipment Theft & Damage

Baton Rouge, La. (October 27, 2014) – Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) investigators say two Beauregard Parish men are charged with theft of forestry equipment and criminal property damage following a joint investigation with Evangeline Parish detectives.

Ricky L. Cooley, 46, was arrested Oct. 15 at his residence in Beauregard Parish and Everette N. Miller, 68, was arrested Oct. 16 after turning himself into the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators say the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office received a complaint that a Tigercat feller buncher was stolen from a logging site on Spring Prairie Road in Mamou, La. in December 2013 and other forestry equipment was damaged. Earlier this month, Evangeline Parish detectives received information that Cooley and Miller were in possession of the stolen equipment.

“As a result of this investigation between our LDAF enforcement agents and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office, we were able to recover the stolen forestry equipment and secure arrest warrants for Cooley and Miller,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

Both men have been released on $15,000 bond.

If convicted of theft of more than $25,000, the suspects face a minimum of five years hard labor and a fine not to exceed $50,000 or both. If convicted of criminal property damage, the suspects face imprisonment with or without hard labor for at least two years and a fine not to exceed $1,000 or both.

Law enforcement is requesting assistance from the community in solving similar crimes in the area. From late September to mid-October, the Allen and Vernon Parish Sheriff’s Offices have received multiple complaints of forestry equipment thefts from logging sites. The majority of the thefts are occurring in the West Bay Wildlife Management area of Allen Parish. Investigators report hundreds of gallons of diesel fuel, radios, and various other items have been taken from logging operations. 

The Louisiana Forestry Association is offering rewards up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone responsible for committing theft and or vandalism of forestry equipment. Law enforcement will also accept anonymous tips.

If anyone has any information regarding the recent forestry equipment crimes in Allen or Vernon Parishes, please contact the Allen Parish Sheriff’s Office at (337) 639-4353, the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry at (225) 925-4500, or the Louisiana Forestry Association at (318) 443-2558.