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4 burglary-ring suspects allegedly stole vehicles, 4-wheelers, tractors, guns in Deep East Texas area

Pictured are (top row from left): Jason Ferrill, Richard Neisser, James Wheeler Jr., and Amanda...
Pictured are (top row from left): Jason Ferrill, Richard Neisser, James Wheeler Jr., and Amanda Williford. (Sources: Nacogdoches and Angelina County jail websites)(Nacogdoches and Angelina County jail websites)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 4:45 PM CST
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NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - An investigation by multiple East Texas law enforcement agencies has resulted in the arrests of four suspects in what is believed to be a burglary ring that committed crimes in four counties.

The suspects allegedly stole 4-wheelers, golf carts, tractors, logging equipment, guns, laptops, vehicles, game cameras, tools, and other miscellaneous items, according to David Stone, the Precinct 4 constable for Nacogdoches County.

“This case is just a big burglary ring,” Stone said.

Jason Carl Ferrill, 25, and Amanda Brooke Williford, 23, both of Henderson, are still being held in the Nacogdoches County Jail. Ferrill has been charged with four counts of engaging in organized criminal activity, two counts of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, and theft of property between $750 and $2,500. Williford has been charged with engaging in organized criminal activity.

No bond amounts have been set for Ferrill or Williford’s charges yet.

Richard Thomas Neisser, 28, of Henderson, and James Tad Wheeler Jr., 36, of Corrigan, are being held in the Angelina County Jail. Neisser has been charged with two counts of theft of property between $30K and $150K, burglary of a habitation, burglary of a building, and theft of property between $750 and $2,500. Wheeler has been charged with two counts of theft of property between $30K and $150 K, burglary of a habitation, and burglary of a building.

Neisser’s bail amount has been set at $76,500 for two of his charges, and Wheeler’s bond amount has been set at $75,000 for one of the theft charges.

Stone said that 15 arrest warrants have been issued in connection to the case. He added that more charges may be pending.

The Pct. 4 constable said the investigation started on Dec. 17 after there was a string of break-ins and RVs in the area of FM 95 near Chireno. Stone said they got a break in the investigation when a gun stolen in one of the burglaries turned up in San Antonio.

Stone said one of his deputies did a lot of the work associated with the investigation.

“My guys did a great job,” Stone said. “It took a lot of legwork and a lot of interviews. It also took going around and talking to the people they sold the property to.”

Stone said he and his deputies worked and shared information with law enforcement agencies in Angelina Nacogdoches, Polk, and Rusk counties. The Pct. 4 constable said one lead would result in another.

“One of the suspects had pictures of himself with some of the stolen guns on a stolen camera,” Stone said. ‘He’s not too bright.”

Some of the suspects were responsible for the break-ins and thefts, Stone said. Others were involved in “moving,” or selling the stolen property.

Stone said some of the burglary suspects admitted to having a system they used to case possible targets. They would allegedly knock on a home’s door, and if someone answered, they would reportedly move on and try again later. If no one was home, they would break in and steal anything of value.

Stone said over the course of the investigation, they have recovered tens of thousands of dollars worth of property that was allegedly stolen by the burglary ring suspects. He added they are still trying to locate a stolen 16-foot trailer and a rifle.

“We had a lot of happy victims,” Stone said.

Neisser and Wheeler were initially arrested in connection with the theft of two skid steers, Stone said. According to a previous East Texas News story, the two pieces of logging equipment were stolen from Texas Timberjack in Lufkin on Dec. 26, 2021.

An officer was at Texas Timberjack taking the theft report on Dec. 27, 2021, when the owner got a call from Game Warden Tim Walker regarding one of the stolen machines. Walker said he had received information about a suspicious truck towing a new skid steer on Grimes Cemetery Road out in the county.

Walker said he was out with the vehicle and two possible suspects, Wheeler and Neisser. The men told Walker they had gotten the machine from Texas Timberjack on Sunday and that they were headed to complete some demolition jobs. Wheeler had the keys to the machine in his pocket.

Two Lufkin Police detectives responded to the area and took over the investigation. The detectives were en route to the Department with Wheeler and Neisser when they learned an older skid steer had also been stolen from the business. Another officer recovered it.

Stolen skid steer
Stolen skid steer((Source: Lufkin Police Department))

While recovering the stolen equipment valued at $73,000, it was found that the suspects were in possession of two campers and a four-wheeler reported stolen out of Polk County. Officers also found a pair of bolt cutters in Wheeler’s truck that had been used to cut the fence at Texas Timberjack.

Wheeler has 14 previous Angelina County arrests on charges including intoxicated manslaughter, racing on a highway causing serious bodily injury, burglary of a building, theft of wire, theft of property, felony criminal mischief, public intoxication, furnishing alcohol to a minor, and taking certain wildlife resources without consent.

Stone thanked the the law enforcement agencies in Angelina, Nacogdoches, Polk, and Rusk counties that assisted with the investigation.

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