Jefferson Co. man gets 1 year for national forest tree theft

TACOMA, Wash. (AP) - The U.S. attorney's office says a 41-year-old Brinnon man has been sentenced to a year in prison for stealing more than $70,000 worth of timber from the Olympic National Forest, including one tree estimated to be more than 300 years old.

Reid Johnston was sentenced Friday in federal court in Tacoma. Government prosecutors estimate Johnston stole or damaged about 100 trees, many of them old growth timber in a protected habitat area.

He earlier pleaded guilty to thefts of fir, cedar and maple trees between May 2009 and January 2010.

One large Douglas fir log had a trunk that was about 7 feet in diameter. The tree was estimated to be more than 300 years old. The maple was cut into blocks and sold for the production of musical instruments such as cellos and guitars.

A restitution hearing is planned in January.