Logger in alleged Coonskin timber theft turns himself in

By Staff reports

A man wanted by police for allegedly stealing timber from Coonskin Park last summer turned himself in Wednesday night.

David Russell Bowen, 50, of Whitney Lane, in Charleston, was wanted on an arrest warrant for wrongful injury to timber, destruction of property and obtaining property by false pretenses.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Kanawha County Magistrate Court, Bowen operated a trucking and logging business that was contracted by Kanawha County parks officials in May 2013 to remove debris and 91 logs left over from the 2012 derecho storm that swept through the area. Instead of taking the 91 logs, the complaint says, Bowen took at least 1,006 logs out of the park between May and July, which he sold for more than $99,000.

Bowen allegedly ended up timbering almost 39 acres of the park and cut logging roads in violation of a state timbering permit. A forestry survey conducted after the timbering operation discovered that Bowen damaged another 528 trees and tore up the forest, according to the criminal complaint. In all, damage to the trees and forest came to more than $17,000, the criminal complaint says.

Bowen has said repeatedly that parks officials were aware of his activities and that he had permission to remove the timber. He was arraigned in Kanawha County Magistrate Court and released on bail Wednesday. He has a preliminary hearing in Kanawha County Magistrate Court June 2.

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