Coast man pleads guilty to 16th Section timber theft

SAUCIER — Following an investigation by the Secretary of State’s Office, the Department of Agriculture and the Mississippi Forestry Commission, 54-year-old Harold Edwin Simmons of Saucier has pled guilty to three counts of felony timber theft.

Simmons was accused of stealing approximately $250,000 worth of timber harvested from three separate 16th Section land sites in Pearl River County.

“Stealing timber is literally taking money from our schoolchildren,” says Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann. “With schools having to make do with less, that money could have gone toward education of our children. We want everyone to be on notice that stealing from our school children will not be tolerated.”

As part of his plea agreement, Simmons will serve 30 consecutive days in Pearl River County Jail; serve 48 weekends in Pearl River County Jail; serve 1.5 years on house arrest (post-incarceration); serve 2.5 years on post-release supervision (post-house arrest); pay restitution in the amount of $100,000 plus $500/month for a total of $126,000; and, pay court costs and investigative fees in the amount of $2,750.

Timber theft is a growing problem across the state, accounting for over $3,000,000 in losses in the last five years, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

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