After a three-day trial ending on February 2, 2022, sixty-three-year old Troy Crandall of Forks, was found guilty of Malicious Mischief in the First Degree, Theft in the Second Degree, and Trafficking Stolen Property in the First Degree.
Court records indicate that on October 22, 2021 a deer hunter reported an active cedar theft taking place behind a locked Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) gate. DNR Officer Allan Nelson responded to the area and found numerous freshly cut cedar blocks along with two men sitting in a nearby vehicle. The two men were cold, wet, covered in cedar saw dust, and smelled of chainsaw gas. Officer Nelson asked the passenger what was going on, and Mr. Crandall interjected “this is corporate bull@#$& this bridge is just rotting away.”
Officer Nelson continued his investigation with the help of Deputy Gene Hoagland of the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department. Their investigation revealed that the side supports of the bridge, which were comprised of old growth cedar, had been sawed out and that the cables which held the bridge together had also been cut. Upon this discovery, both men were arrested and the road was blocked off to prevent the bridge from collapsing as a vehicle crossed over it.
Officer Alan Nelson pictured above
The Jefferson County Prosecutor’s Office charged Mr. Crandall with: Malicious Mischief in the First Degree, Theft in the Second Degree, and Trafficking of Stolen Property in the First Degree. A jury trial commenced on January 31, 2022. The jury heard from Officer Nelson and Deputy Hoagland who explained the cedar was cut in such a manner so that it could be sold at a lumber mill for cedar shake. Tyler Kerschner, an Olympic Region Bridge and Roads Engineer, testified the sill log was completely compromised therefore the bridge would collapse on its own. Due to this danger, the road remained closed and could not be used to fight forest fires or for search and rescue. After hearing the evidence, the jury convicted Mr. Crandall on every count.
Prosecutor James Kennedy thanked everyone involved in the successful prosecution. “Officer Nelson has twenty plus years of law enforcement experience and it showed in the quality of his investigation. It is great to have professionals like him protecting our natural resources. This case also highlights the importance that everyone of us plays in promoting public safety. Had not the hunter called this case in, the damage might have gone unnoticed until the bridge collapsed under the weight of a passing vehicle.”
Sentencing is set for February 18th, 2022. Mr. Crandall faces a sentence of up to 20 months in prison and/or a $10,000 fine plus restitution for damage done to the bridge.
For further information contact Deputy Prosecutor Chris Ashcraft at 360.385.9180