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Converse man charged with timber theft

June 30, 2009

Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M., said forestry investigators with the Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) arrested a Converse man on felony timber theft charges June 25.
James Cooper “J.C.” Hall, 71, of 318 Cotton Hall Lane is accused of illegally cutting three acres of timber, worth $4,000, on the property of Geraldine Stewart of Ringgold.
LDAF Forestry Enforcement Manager Jim Baldwin said Hall was logging timber adjacent to Stewart’s property and allegedly logged three acres of Stewart’s land without permission.
“Mrs. Stewart specifically told Hall that she did not want her timber cut and not to cross her property lines,” Baldwin said.
A week later, Stewart found that her barbed wire fence had been knocked down in two places and three acres of her property had been cut. The trees that were left served as a buffer and actually blocked the logging operation on Stewart’s property from view, Baldwin said.
After being confronted by Stewart, Hall sent Stewart a contract and tried to obtain her signature along with several scale tickets and a money order, Baldwin said.
Records indicate that Hall is currently on five years probation for interstate transportation of stolen timber involving timber tracts in Bossier Parish and Harrison County, Texas, Baldwin said.
Hall posted a $10,000 bond and was given a court date of Aug. 4.
“Timber theft is a crime,” Strain said. “Landowners are advised to regularly check their timber stands or have a trusted agent check their acreage for them.
“We have a full staffing of forestry enforcement officers that investigates all complaints to the fullest. Timber theft is a serious matter and will not be tolerated.”
The arrest was made at the Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office in Arcadia.
To report a suspected timber theft, call the Baton Rouge headquarters at 225-925-4500.