From the Texas A&M Forest Service
COLLEGE STATION, TX (News Release) - Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Investigators made an arrest Thursday afternoon in a timber theft case in Harrison County.
Agency investigators arrested Edward Tom Williams, 59, of Longview on a warrant for Theft of Property valued between $2,500 and $30,000. Williams was released on a $10,000 bond.
In October 2018, investigators received a complaint near Hallsville in Harrison County. The complainant had agreed to a written contract with Williams to conduct a timber harvest but was not paid upon completion of the job. The case was delivered to Harrison County District Attorney Reid McCain. McCain presented the case before a grand jury ultimately securing an indictment for theft of property.
Williams has a prior Third Degree Felony indictment from May 2018 for Theft of Property valued between $30,000 and $150,000 in Cass County for theft of timber.
“Timber theft is more common than most people think,” said Investigator Mike Kuhnert with Texas A&M Forest Service. “Our Law Enforcement department works diligently to bring those responsible to justice.”
Recent significant TFS investigations have resulted in close to $289,000 being recovered and paid back to affected landowners.
Kuhnert offers a few ways to protect landowners from becoming victims of timber theft:
- Visit your property frequently.
- Have someone you know and trust report any cutting on your land immediately.
- Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
- For the best price, insist on getting bids for your timber.
- Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on yours.
- Utilize trail/deer cameras on your property that can record suspicious activity or individuals.
If you are unfamiliar with selling timber, you are urged to contact your local Texas A&M Forest Service office. Our field staff will assist you with securing the assistance of a professional resource manager to help select trees for harvest, estimate values and find potential buyers.
For more information, please visit https://tfsweb.tamu.edu/lawenforcement/reporttimbertheft/