February 26, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Forestry Commission, Alabama

River Falls Man Arrested for Timber Theft

     Law Enforcement officers with the Alabama Forestry Commission (AFC) arrested Willie Frank Tolbert, Jr., aged 52, of River Falls, Alabama, on February 17, 2010. He was charged with “theft by deception, first degree,” a Class B felony. Tolbert is alleged to have taken timber in Covington County valued at $4,400. If convicted, this crime carries a jail sentence of 2-20 years and a fine up to $30,000.

     Statewide for the period October through January, the AFC Law Enforcement team made seven felony arrests, two of which were for arson. A total of 71 misdemeanor arrests were also made, 40 of those for timber theft. To date, there have been 32 convictions, with fines imposed totaling $10,550, and restitution totaling $18,016. Stolen timber has been valued at $179,683. The equipment stolen was reported at a value of $436,600 of which $412,500 has been recovered.

     The Alabama Forestry Commission is committed to reducing the number of forestry-related crimes that occur each year across the state. These crimes generate losses of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to landowners, the timber industry, and Alabama’s economy. The AFC provides an Arson/Forest Crimes Hotline so that citizens can call and report theft of timber, vandalism or theft of harvesting equipment, and wildland arson. The toll-free number is 1-800-222-2927. Any information provided is confidential and the caller remains anonymous.

 

This release reports an arrest.  All suspects are innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law.



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