Man charged in equipment theft

Published 3:00 am Wednesday, July 28, 2010

An Evergreen man was arrested by Alabama Forestry Commission law enforcement officers this week as he was picking up a logging trailer reported stolen from Phenix City earlier this year.

Ricky Nolan, 51, was charged with receiving stolen property, first degree and obscuring identity of a vehicle.

AFC Law Enforcement Chief Craig Hill said the truck Nolan was driving at the time of his arrested was seized and will be subject to condemnation under Alabama law. The law allowing for the seizure of the vehicle went into effect July 1 after being passed in the last legislative session in an effort to curtail such thefts. The condemnation of vehicles used during the commission of any felony involving stolen timber-harvesting equipment is included in the new law. The stolen equipment will be returned to the lawful owner of the property.

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If convicted, Nolan faces a 2 to 20 year sentence and up to a $30,000 fine on the receiving stolen property church which is a class B felony. The charge of obscuring identity of a vehicle is a class C felony and carries a jail sentence of 1 to 10 years and a fine of up to $15,000.

According to Hill, the AFC has investigated thefts of harvesting equipment valued at $558,964 and has recovered stolen equipment valued at $433,500 since October of 2009.

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 wildland arson, theft of timber, and theft of harvesting equipment. The toll-free number is (800) 222-2927. Any information provided is confidential and the caller remains anonymous.