Vandals Target Logging Companies In Johnston County
Posted October 24, 2003 12:09 p.m. EDT
JOHNSTON COUNTY, N.C. — Johnston County sheriff's deputies are trying to track down vandals targeting logging companies working near Smithfield.
Three times this month, equipment belonging to two companies were damaged and threatening letters were left behind.
The OLT Logging Co. is trying to pick up the pace after losing time on a project to clear 92 acres of land near Smithfield Monday.
Company owner Don Czysz said he discovered antifreeze in the gas tank of one of his trucks.
"It slows you right up. It took us about three hours once we drained the tanks and changed filters," he said.
Czysz said no damage was done, but he worries something like this could happen again.
"Yeah, it makes me nervous. I went and spent $60 on padlocks to lock the machinery up. I mean, they don't give this stuff away. It's pretty expensive equipment," he said.
A few weeks ago at a site less than a mile away, the Morris Logging Co. reported two case of vandalism to its equipment.
The reports filed with the Johnston County Sheriff's Office claim someone intentionally spilled 300 gallons of diesel fuel from a truck and that twice, threatening letters signed by the Neuse Island Hunting Club were were left behind warning the company to stop ruining the forest.
Residents living near the site said they have never heard of the club.
"I really don't like it, but there's not a lot I can do about it," resident Barbara Fletcher said.
Fletcher watches as the trees come down across from her cotton field.
"It really is going to hurt the areas are far as look, and it's going to affect the wildlife," she said.
While she and her neighboprs disagree with the project, they said the vandalism is wrong, too.
Czysz logged his complaint with the Sheriff's Office, and until someone is caught, will continue to take extra precautions -- including patroling the area himself.
Anyone with information about the vandalism should contact the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.