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Indiana Conservation Officers arrested an Evansville man on Nov. 20 after a year-long timber theft investigation.

Conservation officers identified 17 victims in Gibson and Posey counties who have not received payment for their timber per agreements going back as far as 2018.

Christopher L. Collins, 40, of Evansville is being held at the Posey County Jail on a $25,000 cash bond.

Conservation officers began their investigation in 2019 after receiving information that Collins had failed to pay for timber as agreed in Gibson County. The investigation revealed that Collins failed to pay more than $250,000 for the timber he purchased over a two-year period.

The investigation also revealed that Collins had operated under the following business names: C&K Forestry Management LLC, C&K Forestry LLC, C&M Forestry LLC, Blackhaus Forestry LLC, and Collins Family Forestry.

This August, conservation officers executed arrest and search warrants on Collins at his residence for violations that occurred in Gibson County. Information and evidence as a result of these warrants led to the discovery of victims.

As a result of the investigation, Collins faces the following charges:

Gibson County:

One count – Corrupt Business Influence – Level 5 Felony

Five separate counts – Theft – Level 6 Felony

Two separate counts – Check Deception – Level 6 Felony

Five separate counts – Failure to Pay for Timber as Agreed – Class A Misdemeanor

Posey County:

One count – Corrupt Business Influence – Level 5 Felony

Nine separate counts – Theft – Level 6 Felony

Three separate counts – Check Deception – Level 6 Felony

Eleven separate counts – Failure to Pay for Timber as Agreed – Class A Misdemeanor

One count – Unlicensed Timber Buyer – Class A Misdemeanor

All charges are merely accusations and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The DNR Division of Forestry oversees the licensing and regulation of timber buyers and agents. For information on timber buyers, or if you are a landowner seeking to sell timber, please visit: dnr.IN.gov/forestry/2846.htm.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of timber theft, you are asked to call Indiana Conservation Officer Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536.