Suspect arrested for timber theft in Harrison County

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas – 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/

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

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