Lorris Wayne Ward, 38, Erma Road, of Saline, was booked into the Bienville Parish jail on theft by fraud charges after he allegedly failed to deliver 240 round bales of hay to Bryan B. Norwood Jr. of Mansfield.
Norwood purchased the hay Aug. 29 with a $13,320 bank money order but the hay was never delivered.
Harris County authorities in Texas also filed theft by fraud charges against Ward when he allegedly accepted a $2,000 payment for hay that he did not deliver.
Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Livestock Brand Commission Inspectors Carney Burcham and H. Scotty Hill, Sergeant Joe West of the DeSoto Parish Sheriff’s Office and DeSoto Parish District Attorney Richard Z. Johnson Office investigated the case.
The Bienville Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Law Enforcement Division also participated in the investigation.
Johnson dropped the charges against Ward after restitution was paid to the victims. Ward was released from custody Dec. 14.
“I thought it was more important to pursue quick reimbursement for the victims instead of going through a long drawn-out court case,” Johnson said.
“Hay is in very short supply and expensive because of the drought,” Strain said. “Our Brand Commission Inspectors will investigate any crime committed against Louisiana’s agricultural producers.”
Strain said anyone with knowledge or suspicion of an agricultural crime should call the LDAF Crimestoppers Hotline at 1-800-558-9741 to report any agricultural crime.
Livestock Brand Commission personnel investigate all agricultural crime in Louisiana including theft of livestock (cattle, equines, hogs, emus, ostriches, turtles, sheep, and exotics) and farm machinery and equipment.
All enforcement personnel are commissioned by Louisiana State Police and have full police powers in the performance of their duties.