Louisiana Sawmill owner arrested for more than $750K in timber theft

Louisiana

Wood logs are seen stored at the Serra Mansa logging and sawmill company, in Moraes Almeida district, Itaituba, Para state, Brazil, in the Amazon rainforest, on September 12, 2019. – Cattle breeders, indigenous teachers and loggers are among more than 20 million people living in the Amazon in northern Brazil, carving out a living from the world’s largest rainforest (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP) (Photo by NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP via Getty Images)

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BATON ROUGE, La. (WGNO) – Following a six-month investigation, Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) enforcement agents arrested 67-year-old Robert B. Barnes of Hamburg, Ark. for theft of timber valued at $752,394.72.

Barnes owned and operated a Lincoln Parish sawmill company in Simsboro, La. called Barnes in Barnes Tie LLC. In February, agents received complaints from multiple loggers who delivered timber to the sawmill owned by Barnes. The loggers told agents they had not received payment for the delivered timber.

As a result of the investigation, LDAF agents discovered Barnes misappropriated more than $752,000 in proceeds from customers.

“Timber is a major industry in the state of Louisiana and it is also a long-term investment for landowners,” said Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.

“We take the crime of timber theft very seriously and work hard to bring these criminals to justice.”

On Wednesday, LDAF agents arrested Barnes and booked him into the Lincoln Parish Detention Center. Bond was set at $100,000 and Barnes has reportedly bonded out.  If convicted, Barnes faces a fine of up to $10,000 and/or prison time up to 10 years.

To report suspected timber theft, contact the LDAF Office of Forestry at 225-925-4500 to file a complaint.

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