(8/13/18) Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) investigators arrested a Bastrop, La. man in connection with several suspected arsons in Morehouse Parish.
Fifty-five year old John Philbert Bowers of 16849 Sulphur Springs Rd, Bastrop, La. was arrested on four counts of arson by the LDAF and three counts of arson by the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Between July 20 – August 3, 2018, the LDAF Fire Eradication Units and Morehouse Parish Volunteer Fire Department responded and extinguished a total of seven wildfires in Morehouse Parish near the Arkansas state line. Fires were located on White Arkansas Rd., Ten Rd., Cameron Rd., Gum Springs Rd., Reservoir Rd., and Stevenson Rd. The fires burned 27.66 acres of timber. It is suspected that as many as three fires were intentionally set July 22.
“Arson is a serious crime that can quickly get out of control. While property is damaged or lost, it can also threaten people’s lives, their homes and valuable timberland,” said LDAF Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M. Bowers is also being held in connection to suspected arsons in Ashley County, Arkansas.
If convicted of arson where the damage amounts to $500 or more, penalty includes a fine up to $15,000 and jail time at hard labor for up to 15 years.
The LDAF conducted a joint investigation with the Morehouse Parish Sheriff’s Office, the City of Bastrop’s Fire Prevention Office, the Arkansas Agriculture Department Law Enforcement Division, and the Ashley County, Arkansas Sheriff’s Office.