Sentence handed down for cedar theft

Bridge destroyed during removal of wood

PORT TOWNSEND — A Forks man has been sentenced to more than a year and five months in prison for the theft of cedar from a state bridge on Upper Hoh Road in West Jefferson County.

Troy Crandall, 63, was sentenced on Friday in Jefferson County Superior Court to 17½ months in prison and restitution of $20,220.60 to the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR).

He had been convicted Feb. 2 in a jury trial of charges of first-degree malicious mischief, second-degree theft and first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

His accomplice, Jose Carmen Salinas, 42, earlier had pleaded guilty to first-degree trafficking in stolen property and first-degree malicious mischief, said Jefferson County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Anna Phillips. He was sentenced with credit for time served — which meant he served no additional time — as well as paying the same amount in restitution to DNR as Crandall.

The two were discovered on Oct. 22 with freshly cut chunks of cedar chainsawed from a bridge about 1½ miles behind a locked DNR gate on Upper Hoh Road in West Jefferson County, according to DNR Officer Allen Nelson.

Nelson said two men sitting in a nearby vehicle — Crandall and Salinas — were cold, wet, covered in cedar saw dust and smelled of chainsaw gas.

Nelson said Crandall told him the bridge was just rotting away while Salinas said the two “were hungry and needed cash.”

Nelson said the outside span on the north side of the bridge had been cut and removed, cables holding the bridge together were hanging underneath and the west side bottom girder was sawed apart.

Nelson estimated bridge repair costs at about $20,000 and said about $3,000 in cedar blocks were cut from the structure.

DNR had said officials believed the two were going to sell the cedar on the black market for mill owners to turn into shake and shingles.

The sentencing range for Crandall was 15-20 months. Phillips asked Judge Keith Harper to impose the top of the range — 20 months — because the crime created danger to others by critically damaging a bridge in addition to restricting access to a section of forest from firefighters and search and rescue members.

Crandall reportedly said that he was “sorry, not sorry.”

Harper sentenced Crandall after saying he had shown no remorse nor presented a defense.

The prosecution also requested that Crandall be barred from DNR land for 10 years, a request the judge did not grant.

“While we are disappointed that the defendant was not prohibited from entering DNR lands, we do appreciate that someone who has damaged public infrastructure and thereby placed the public in danger was held accountable,” said James Kennedy, prosecuting attorney, in a press release.

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