ST. FRANCISVILLE — Authorities searched a large wooded area near the River Bend nuclear power plant for more than eight hours Monday for a man wanted for allegedly stealing copper from a local industrial shop, West Feliciana Parish Sheriff J. Austin Daniel.
James Ard, 24, was found hiding in a tree near La. 965 shortly after 6 p.m. and arrested without incident, Daniel said.
Sheriff’s deputies, St. Francisville police, deputy U.S. marshals and Louisiana State Penitentiary chase officers and bloodhounds searched the thick woods for the suspect after he bailed out of a car on La. 965 at 10 a.m., Daniel said.
“We found out that he used to work as a tree trimmer and was supposed to be good at climbing,” Daniel said. “The chase team decided they’d better start looking in the trees, too.”
After searchers narrowed the location where they thought Ard was hiding, Angola security officer Lt. Col. Joe Norwood happened to look up into a large tree and spotted him, Daniel said.
“There he was,” Daniel said.
The sheriff said Ard, whose address was not immediately known, is accused of stealing copper worth at least $3,400 from a shop on U.S. 61 that rewinds large electric motors for industrial use.
Daniel said sheriff’s detectives sought help from the U.S. Marshal Service after making several unsuccessful attempts to apprehend Ard on a warrant accusing him of the theft.
The officers stopped a vehicle in which Ard and another man were traveling on La. 965 west of U.S. 61, but Ard ran away, Daniel said. Officers detained the other man during the search, the sheriff said.
Deputies booked Ard with felony theft and flight from an officer, Daniel said. Ard also is wanted on an Office of Probation and Parole warrant involving a vehicular homicide charge, the sheriff said.