Man arrested on felony timber theft charges in Harrison County

Man arrested on felony timber theft charges in Harrison County
A Longview man was arrested on a felony timber theft charge in Harrison County on Thursday afternoon. (Source: Gray News Media)

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.

To report suspected timber theft activity call the Timber Theft Hotline 1-800-364-3470.