Eight arrested for iron theft
Claiborne scrap yard takes another hit
in theft case
BONNIE CULVERHOUSE, Special to The
close-knit family and some friends have gone from allegedly stealing iron
weights to sitting behind iron bars.
the course of nine months, Webster Parish Sheriff’s detectives have solved a
rash of oil and gas well iron thefts that span five parishes and two counties
Stiles, 39, of the 100 block of Kirby Place, has been charged with several
counts of felony theft of oil and gas equipment, four counts of criminal
trespassing, one count of illegal possession of stolen things and one count of
felony possession of CDS Sch. I (marijuana).
Savage Stiles is charged with theft of oil and gas equipment, conspiracy to
commit theft of oil and gas equipment and illegal possession of stolen things
with one count of theft of oil and gas equipment and one count of criminal
conspiracy are Ryan Scott Savage, Austin Chase Stiles, Levi Dance, Kelvin
Parker, Joshua Malham and one unidentified juvenile.
and Malham also have charges of simple theft and criminal damage to property.
Scott Tucker said Andrew Stiles, a saltwater truck driver for an oilfield
service company, has been traveling to oil well locations, using GPS (Global
Positioning System) in his cell phone for directions and stealing iron from oil
well and railroad sites and selling it for scrap.
known this was going on since last April,” Tucker said. “But it all started
breaking loose when we got a call at the end of December from an oil company,
saying someone had damaged one of their stand-by units.”
said deputies took a report and began looking for metal that had been removed
from the site.
or four days later, the person who stole it came back to the same location and
cut up a $25,000 pump unit,” Tucker said. “This time, they left some evidence
there. When they came back a third time, through surveillance, we were able to
identify some of the people.”
January 4, deputies reportedly initiated a traffic stop on Goodwill Street in
Minden that led to the arrest of Traci Stiles, Ryan Savage and Austin Stiles.
the truck and trailer they had been using to steal the iron,” Tucker said.
learned that Andrew Stiles, the prime suspect, was arrested on January 3 in
Bienville Parish for attempting to steal a car to sell for scrap.
interviewed Stiles that night, and he admitted to cutting up a well in Cotton
Valley,” said Det. T.D. Kemp. “But we’ve been accumulating these cases since
April, and he denied knowing anything about those.”
said the next step was to round up the suspects they had observed in
surveillance – Dance, Malham and the juvenile.
we arrested Kelvin Parker,” he said. “They all pointed the finger at Andrew
suspects told detectives that Andrew Stiles had told them to go back to the
last location and get some of the iron counterweights he had left at the site.
counterweights weigh between 300 and 800 pounds,” Kemp said. “Andrew admitted
he took 11,000 pounds of scrap iron to a scrapyard in Homer and made about $400
off a $25,000 unit.”
reportedly took the detectives to several sites, including Sibley, Porterville
(between Sarepta and Cullen) into south Bossier Parish, south Arkansas and
Claiborne and Jackson parishes.
well in Sibley was online,” Kemp said. “They turned it off, then stole a
counterweight off each side of the pump, so it wouldn’t be off balance.”
said the crew used a winch, truck and trailer to move the heavy equipment.
found drag marks on the ground in several locations,” said Kemp.
addition to the oil field equipment, detectives said the group stole railroad
said they are unsure how much the total amount of theft and damage will be when
their investigation is finished. They are convinced there are other sites and
thefts yet unidentified.
here in Webster, we’re probably pushing eight to 10 cases, mounting up to
$150,000- to $200,000-worth,” Tucker said.
of which they are aware was sold to the same scrapyard in Homer.
currently looking into why law enforcement wasn’t notified (by the scrapyard
owners) when this amount of oil field and railroad equipment was brought
there,” Tucker said. “We’re still investigating that.”
Parish Sheriff Ken Bailey said his criminal investigators are also looking into
several cases around the parish in which various metals and oilfield equipment
has been sold to a local scrap yard.
had several calls of stolen items being taken to a scrapyard, and some we’ve
made arrests on and some we haven’t,” he said.
did not release any more information, except to say they still have several
ongoing investigations that are not related to this specific case.
Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton said his detectives spent several months on this
wasn’t an easy case to solve,” Sexton said. “They did a good job.”
only was it difficult, Tucker said it was dangerous for the ones stealing the
iron and nearby residents.
of these wells are pretty close to houses,” he said. “Natural gas is coming out
of the ground ... it’s odorless. These people were going up there with cutting
torches and electric winches – pulling on stuff at well locations.”
Stiles was taken to Bayou Dorcheat Correctional Center, where he briefly joined
his comrades before going back to Bienville Parish.
bonds alone total $225,000.
‘Get on Board with Claiborne Parish’
2012 Chamber Banquet promotes parish
The Guardian-Journal photos/Michelle
The 2012 Claiborne Chamber of Commerce
promoted the parish in a unique way by telling stories of people and events
from Claiborne Parish. As the evening’s entertainment, the Jubilee Players
entertained those in attendance with a play. Pictured above are the 2012
Chamber Board members. In no particular order, they are: Lisa Ledbetter,
president, J.T. Taylor, vice president, Mary Ellen Gamble, secretary, Dwayne
Woodard, treasurer, Janell Brown, Chick Hines, Kendra Linder Palmer, O.P.
“Pete” Pearson, Steven J. Koskie, Cynthia Steele, Galen White, Grant Killgore,
Dan Ware and Wade Holloway. A special thanks goes to the Chamber banquet
committee: Ledbetter, Nicole Sanders Ware and Steele. Please see page 5 for
more from this year’s fun-filled banquet!
Patrick Gladney, right, and Jim Norcross,
left, have a conversation during the play put on by the Jubilee Players at
Monday night’s Claiborne Chamber Banquet. The event was a huge success.
As Gladney and Norcross watch this scene
play out, Kathy Hightower tries to get her “father”, played by John McClelland,
as he waits for a deer to cross the back yard.
Men surrender to police
more arrests have been made in a case which stemmed from a fight where a Homer
man was allegedly beaten up.
Harris, 24, of Homer, turned himself into Homer authorities on Wednesday,
January 25, on charges of aggravated second degree battery. Bond was set at
Homer man, Demarcus Johnson, 24, turned himself into Homer authorities on
Sunday, January 29, as well on second degree battery charges. Bond was set at
Police were dispatched to the 900 block of Hudd Drive in reference to a fight
on the night of December 31, 2011. When officers arrived on scene, they were
met in the parking lot area by the victim, Scott Richardson and two others who
say Johnson, Harris and Desean De Undre Dunn had attacked Richardson.
say that upon arrival, they could see Richardson had physical injuries to his
to reports, witnesses say Harris used what appeared to be brass knuckles and
struck Richardson in the face. Johnson was said to have begun the physical
altercation when he and Richardson began arguing. Dunn was reported to have
struck Richardson in the face with a handgun as well as kicking Richardson
during the altercation.
was arrested on Friday, January 6 on an aggravated second degree battery
separate incident, Ramon C. Henderson, 22, of Homer, was arrested on several
charges after a traffic stop turned sour.
to reports, Homer Police Officer Scott Glenn observed a vehicle traveling
eastbound on Pearl Street run a stop sign. Glenn conducted a traffic stop, and
when the vehicle stopped, Glenn reportedly saw the driver, later identified as
Henderson, throw a clear plastic baggie out onto the ground.
made contact with Henderson and asked him to exit the vehicle. When Henderson
did as he was asked, he allegedly kicked the clear plastic baggie underneath
the car. At that time, Glenn detained Henderson and retrieved the baggie from
underneath the car, at which time, the officer discovered the baggie contained
a green leafy substance believed to be marijuana.
was charged with failure to obey a stop/yield sign with bond set at $500,
simple possession of marijuana with bond set at $500, resisting an officer (for
reportedly refusing to give his name) with bond set at $500, no insurance with
bond set at $500, no motor vehicle inspection with bond set at $500, expired
license plate with bond set at $500, and driving under suspension with bond set
Trash Bash this Saturday!
Homer Clean City Committee’s Trash Bash will be held this Saturday, February 4,
from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., beginning at Oil Mill Road, between the old cotton
warehouses and housing apartments.
available to Homer citizens only, and please be prepared to show ID.
and white goods (refrigerators and washing machines, etc.) and regular trash
accepted. No limbs accepted unless bundled in 6 foot long pieces.
more information, please call 318-927-3271 or 318-927-2342.
Haynesville Rummage Sale this Saturday
community-wide rummage sale is set for Saturday, February 4, from 7 a.m. until
by the Citizens Advisory Committee in Haynesville, Bob McDaniel, CAC member,
said anyone interested in donating items for the sale may do so by dropping
them off at the Claiborne Parish Fair Complex on Friday, February 3, from 9
a.m. until 2 p.m. Also, Carla Smith, owner of Carla’s Cut N’ Curl, said smaller
items could be dropped off there. For those who have larger items to donate,
Haynesville Mayor Sherman Brown said to call City Hall.
booths are also still available to anyone for $15, payable to the Town of
Haynesville. Please make payments at Haynesville City Hall and please note
“booth space” in the memo section if paying with a check.
conjunction with the rummage sale, a bake sale will be going on as well. For
questions or to donate to the bake sale, please contact Linda Knox at
318-624-1606. For questions or more information about the rummage sale, please
call Brown at City Hall at 318-624-0911 or Martha Trinko at 318-624-0074.
this year will be used for this year’s Christmas Fireworks Display and other
special town projects.
Reward offered in cemetery vandalism
reward is being offered to anyone with information leading to the arrest or
arrests of those responsible for vandalizing several tombstones at Macedonia
Cemetery in southern Claiborne Parish.
to Mattie Mosely, a member of the Macedonia Cemetery Association, the cemetery
was vandalized twice in the month of January, first on New Year’s weekend and
again during the weekend of January 13-15.
times, the cemetery gate was torn down, tall tombstones dating from the late
1800s to the early 1900s were knocked over, other tombstones were spray painted
and flower arrangements were apparently set on fire.
is one of the oldest cemeteries in Claiborne Parish, and some graves date back
to the early 1800s with markers made from local ironstone. Many local families
have ancestors going back several generations buried at the cemetery.
Baptist Church was located across the road from the cemetery for more than 100
years until it was burned to the ground by arsonists in 1994, according to a
press release. A memorial plaque marks where the church was.
cemetery is located about eight miles north of Arcadia on a road between Hwys.
533 and 151.
a $500 reward is being offered by the Macedonia Cemetery Association. If anyone
has any information relating to this terrible incident, please call the
Claiborne Parish Sheriff’s Office at 318-927-2011 or 318-927-9800.
Where will Sparta stand in new state
MICHELLE BATES, Editor
the state’s groundwater management plan in the works, Sparta Commission members
are wondering where they will stand when the plan is implemented under the
Louisiana Department of Natural Resources.
McKinney, Sparta Groundwater Commissioner, attended the Groundwater Resources
Commission meeting held in Baton Rouge on January 19-20, and he was named as
the facilitator for the Collaboration Committee, which he says puts the Sparta
Commission in the forefront of pulling people together to give input on the
state’s groundwater management plan.
he had questions regarding the whole thing, because there are some questions as
to how the Sparta Commission was formed and how it is seen through the state’s
eyes. According to the revised statutes of Louisiana law, the Sparta Commission
was formed as a political subdivision, which means it was created by the
Louisiana Legislature, the same as the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation
Commission (CAGWCC). But, according to the same statutes, the Sparta Commission
does not have the same authority as CAGWCC. Where the Capital Commission has
the authority to issue permits, charge fees, and issue fines, the Sparta
Commission has no such authority.
key issue that I was concerned about is what authority would these districts
have and what would happen to the Sparta Commission,” McKinney said.
McKinney leads the Collaboration Committee for the state groundwater management
plan, what exactly does this give them the authority to do? It comes down to
the difference in definitions of a “political subdivision” of the state and a
to John Adams, of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources, Office of
Conservation’s Environmental Division, a “regional body” is authorized under LA
RS 38:3097.4 (D)(5), which states, “The commission may direct the commissioner
to promulgate rules and regulations for the appointment or designation of up to
five regional bodies based on the general location of major aquifer systems and
water sources of the state and composed of local stakeholders who are representative
of current users. Such bodies may gather data and provide local input to the
commission and the commissioner.”
other hand, a district, like the Capital Area Groundwater Conservation
District, is a political subdivision established by the legislature and may or
may not be purely advisory,” Adams said. “As such, only the legislature can
speak to the creation of state water districts as well as related state funding
in the email correspondence between Adams and McKinney, Adams did not
understand that the Sparta Commission, like CAGWCC, is a political subdivision
and not a regional body.
to the Sparta Commission’s bylaws, RS 38:§3087.132(A), “The Sparta Groundwater
Conservation District is hereby established as a political subdivision of the
a political subdivision, commission members believe they should have the same
authority as the CAGWCC, and they’ve fought for it for nearly 10 years. There
is also some fear that the Sparta Commission would be dissolved if the plan
goes with the five districts idea they want to do.
DNR can’t diminish the Sparta,” McKinney said. “This was one little issue that
disturbed me to the extent that I’m telling you that we need to be very on our
toes and make sure that we understand it to the extent that I think this
commission should write a letter to (DNR Secretary Scott) Angelle saying don’t
diminish our authority in any form or fashion.”
to James Couvillion, who has worked closely with former Sparta Commission
member Phillip Lane, if the five districts plan were to go through, the idea is
that the Sparta Commission would be taken over in the 16-parish district.
issue here is that the DNR can’t take away the commission’s legislative powers
and has no authority to absorb the Sparta Commission. The Louisiana Legislature
is the only state entity that has the authority to change or add any authority
to the Sparta Commission. That means it’s likely that the commission will stay
just exactly as it is, an educational arm of water conservation efforts.
McKinney recommended the Sparta Commission write a letter to DNR while the
groundwater management plan is in the works to not diminish the Sparta
Commission and the role it plays. It was approved with a unanimous vote.
separate interview with District 33 Sen. Mike Walsworth (R-West Monroe), he
said when the Sparta Commission was originally formed, the legislature did not
want the commission to have any more authority than it does now, citing mainly
taxing authority issues. Instead, he feels the Sparta Commission is already
doing a world of good in its strong efforts to educate the region on the Sparta
Aquifer and water conservation. He also said that he, along with other
legislators, will continue to look for avenues to bring in more funding.
going to try to find them more monies for their education efforts,” he said,
“because I think it’s worked and it’s worthwhile. Are we where we want it to
be? No, but I think we’re better off now than we were 10 years ago.”
Hohlt, Sparta Commission member, said their education efforts are beginning to
pay off, with the implementation of their Waterfest coming soon to Webster
Parish. Lindsay Gouedy, Sparta educator, said in her report they are also
working on a Sparta 5k run in the spring. And over the next few weeks, she will
be in Ouachita Parish at least two to three days a week with fifth grade
right now, the main focus is on seeking grants to help fund these important
educational endeavors. Hohlt said through the Sparta Foundation, of which he is
executive director, they are currently seeking a USDA Rural Development grant
for $100,000 specifically to use for education in the Sparta region.
the state groundwater management plan, he hopes to see something substantive
soon. Right now, with the plan still in the works, the Sparta Commission sits
and awaits word on the role they will play while continuing their efforts in
Sparta and water conservation.
hope is that if Louisiana can get a plan, then we have a direction to go,”
next meeting of the Sparta Commission is set to be on April 19, in the Union
Parish Courthouse Annex, 303 E. Water Street in Farmerville.
Hospital offers cancer patient support
Memorial Hospital partnering with the Rural Hospital Coalition and
Feist-Weiller Cancer Center at LSU Shreveport is offering a new program that
provides support for cancer patients.
program is funded by a federal grant and will provide group therapy for cancer
sessions will be from 4-5 pm on the second Thursday of each month at Homer
Memorial Hospital. These sessions will be led by an experienced therapist from
the cancer center and will be free of charge. The next session is February 9,
first diagnosed, cancer patients’ lives are thrown into a whirlwind of
information, decisions and emotions.
sessions will give cancer patients the opportunity to talk about their lives,
to learn how to cope with a potentially life-threatening illness, and to
receive help from, and to give help to others who truly understand the daily
challenges of living with cancer.
goals of the cancer support groups are:
death and dying.
the support of families and friends.
the doctor-patient relationship.
from Homer and several other rural locations will join with the professionals
at the cancer center in Shreveport through the use of tele-conferencing
equipment at Homer Memorial Hospital to participate in this unique cancer
therapy session without having to drive to Shreveport.
Adrienne Willis at (318) 927-1400 to schedule an appointment. Remember there
is no charge.
Claiborne quilt square part of 200th
Claiborne Parish Quilt Square
200th Birthday Louisiana!!!! In an effort to celebrate the Bicentennial of
Louisiana’s statehood, April 12, 1812, the Louisiana State Archives is planning
many wonderful activities to share with Louisiana statewide throughout 2012.
It is through a partnership between the Secretary of State, Tom Schedler, the
Louisiana State Archives and the Louisiana Police Jury Association, that a
quilt entitled “Stitch By Stitch”, Binding Together 200 Years of Louisiana’s
History”. The design of this quilt will consist of a center medallion
featuring the Louisiana State Archives with Parish squares assembled In columns
flanked with borders of blue and gold. The unveiling and presentation of this
quilt will be April 2012, (date to be determined), during a month’s long
celebration of Louisiana’s 200th Birthday! The quilt will be housed at the
State Archives and then rotated to each parish, at a time to be determined, so
that it is also shared with and enjoyed by each parish’s citizens.
Police Jury of Claiborne commissioned Teresa McDaniel to coordinate the design
and needle crafting of the square for Claiborne Parish. The square depicts
the outstanding features of Claiborne Parish and was submitted by the deadline
of January 15th, 2012. If you have any questions regarding this quilt square
please contact Teresa McDaniel at or Dawn Abraham, State
Archives Education Specialist at . 3851 Essen Lane, Baton Rouge, La 70809.
date the quilt will be in Claiborne Parish will be noted in the local