NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK)- A 61-year-old man was arrested in connection to an East Texas timber theft case.
Clinton Moore of Nacogdoches was arrested and charged with a third degree felony in Cherokee County for timber purchase with intent to defraud the timber, valued between $20,000- $100,000.
A warrant was obtained by Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement officers with a $12,000 bond for Moore’s arrest. Moore turned himself in to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
Some East Texas landowners said they had a verbal agreement with Moore that he would harvest the timber on their 60-acre property in Recklaw.
The landowners contacted Texas A&M Forest Service for help after “recurring non-payment issues”, they said. Investigator Mike Kuhnert began an investigation and found that Moore owed the landowners more than $23,000 in stumpage, based off the fair market values given by Moore from the owners.
Moore blamed the non-payments on external reason such as equipment breakdowns and wet weather conditions. The case was sent to a grand jury and received an indictment leading to Moore’s arrest.
To prevent timber theft, landowners should:
- Visit their property frequently.
- Have someone they know and trust report any cutting on their land immediately.
- Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
- For the best price, insist on getting bids for their timber.
- Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on theirs.
- Utilize trail/deer cameras on their property that can record suspicious activity or individuals.
- Always hold their timber contractor to the agreed upon terms.
If you are a landowner wanting to sell timber, contact your local Texas A&M Forest Service office, or to report suspected timber theft or suspicious activity, call the Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Timber Theft Hotline at 1-800-364-3470.
The Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Department works with local officials to help bring those responsible for timber theft and other violations of the natural resource code to justice.
To contact a Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Investigator your area, visit this webpage.