Juveniles facing time in detention center for shoplifting flare gun, starting fires in field

Fire breaks out
Fire breaks out(KTTC)
Published: Sep. 22, 2023 at 3:51 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2023 at 3:59 PM CDT
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SPRING HILL, La. (KSLA) - Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry’s (LDAF) Forestry Enforcement Division agents responded to arson in Webster Parish that left an acre of land scorched.

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Webster Parish Fire Department told LDAF agents that four unnamed juveniles had allegedly stolen a flare gun from the local Walmart in Springhill, La. They then proceeded to shoot flares into a field behind the Walmart, starting fires in the area, according to officials with LDAF.

The fire department and LDAF fire crews were able to subdue the blaze in a timely manner, which resulted in only one acre of the field getting burned.

Upon investigation, Webster Parish Fire Department said they found several used flares in the area where the fires occurred. LDAF enforcement agents contacted the Springhill Police Department (SPD), who identified the four juveniles. After a joint investigation between SPD and LDAF, three of the youths were arrested.

SPD charged them with theft by shoplifting, and LDAF agents charged them with two counts of simple arson. The fourth juvenile is still at large. Their names and ages are withheld due to their ages. If convicted, each juvenile could receive four years in a juvenile detention center.

According to LDAF, the crime of simple arson, where the damage amounts to $500 or more, carries a fine of $15,000 or less and imprisonment at hard labor for at least 15 years. If the damage is less than $500, the offender will be fined at least $2,500 or imprisoned with or without hard labor for no more than five years, or both.

The public is urged to report any and all forestry-related crimes to the LDAF 24-hour hotline at 1-855-452-5323.