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2 men arrested for stealing wood and ruining the structures

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LINCOLN PARISH (KNOE 8 News) - There's a growing market for distressed wood and thieves are trying to cash in. As our Nolan Crane reports two men have been arrested in Lincoln Parish for stealing old wood from unoccupied buildings.

These homes and wood buildings look like they've taken a beating from strong winds and years of neglect, but most of the damage is manmade.

Lincoln Parish Sheriff's Office deputies say this is the result of two people who destroyed buildings for the value of the old wood. They have arrested Charles Ray and Jacob Goza and are charging them with criminal trespass and theft.

"Old wood is very valuable. Country tables are very popular now if you've ever been to a store called restoration hardware you know how popular it is," said Pam Wood.

"The criminals aren't just stealing the wood. There also causing thousands of dollars in structural damage.

"They hook a chain to the building, pulling walls down. You can see behind me the damage and destruction that leaves behind for someone to clean up. That's property that is owned by someone," said Major Chad Alexander.

Although the wood doesn't look like much, Pam Wood owns an antique wood furniture store in West Monroe. She says this wood can be used for a lot of things that come with heavy price tags.

"People are making tables out of it; they're making boxes out of it. A lot of people use the wood for flooring," said Wood.

Deputies want people to pay attention to not only their homes and outbuildings but also their neighbors to prevent this destruction from continuing.

"We would ask the people just be vigilant, not just to respect to wood on buildings, but if you see something that just doesn't look right it's probably not right. Let someone know," said Major Alexander.

Deputies say in the past month there have been six different wooden structures vandalized for their wood and they think Ray and Goza are responsible for all of them.

The suspects were nabbed after the sheriff's department got a tip about a suspicious white truck pulling a trailer loaded with older lumber. It's uncertain if the thieves were ever successful selling any of the wood.

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