South Carolina Forestry Commission
News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 2, 2009

PINE STRAW THEFT TURNS VIOLENT THEFT, ASSAULT CHARGES RESULT

Tony Washington

(Columbia,SC)–-It’s not free.  Pine straw, which is enjoying robust popularity in the landscaping world, is considered a valuable forest product and theft charges are possible for anyone who takes it without landowners’ permission.  Such was the case this week in Cassatt where a man was arrested for removing straw and attacking the property caretaker.

Tony Washington, 36, of Cassatt, is charged by the South Carolina Forestry Commission’s law enforcement division with stealing pine straw and trespassing.  He will also answer to charges of assault and battery.  Kershaw County deputies say when approached by the landowner’s employee, Washington struck the man on the head with an axe handle.  The injury required sixteen stitches.  The caretaker is expected to recover.

Forestry and timber-related businesses constitute the number one manufacturing industry in South Carolina.  The South Carolina Forestry Commission is committed to protecting the Palmetto State’s public and private forest resources.  These crimes cost SC landowners millions of dollars each year.

To report a suspected case of timber theft/fraud or arson, call the South Carolina Forestry Commission at (803) 896-8800.

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Editors, News Directors:  For more information, call Scott Hawkins at (803) 896-8820.

Legal Reference:

            SC Code 16-11-0610 Trespassing

                            16-11-0580(B) Removal of timber

 

This release reports an arrest.  All subjects should be considered innocent unless proven otherwise in a court of law.

 

 The SC Forestry Commission’s mission is to protect and develop South Carolina’s forest resource.  For every $1.00 invested by SC in the Commission, the industry produces more than $1,000.00 of economic impact.

 

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