W.Va. Senate passes timber theft bill

CHARLESTON (AP) — The West Virginia Senate unanimously approves a bill making it an offense to steal timber from state forests.

The bill grants the Division of Forestry the authority to investigate and enforce timber violations. Individuals who steal timber valued under $25,000 would be guilty of a misdemeanor and could face up to a year of jail time and/or a fine of up to $500. Thefts valued at more than $25,000 would be considered a felony and perpetrators could face up to three years in jail and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

In addition to these criminal penalties, anyone convicted of timber theft would pay a $500 civil penalty to the Division of Forestry.

Senate Bill 353 has been passed to the House for action.

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