FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 8, 2015
Contact: Laramie Adams
Marshall, Texas – A fourth suspect was arrested on Sunday and charged with third degree felony theft of livestock after helping three other suspects steal twelve head of penned yearling cattle from a Harrison County ranch on Sept. 30, 2014. All four suspects are now under indictment as of April 30 and were arrested on various dates.
This joint investigation was conducted by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Larry Hand and Harrison County Sheriff’s Investigator BJ Fletcher.
Hand and many local authorities have been working on this investigation since Sept. 30, 2014 and evidentiary leads spanned across 4 counties. The arrest of the fourth suspect, Alex Christopher Hinton, 34, of Carthage, Texas, occurred after Hinton’s employer and the alleged suspect’s truck were located in March 2015. Witnesses had described a flatbed truck to Hand in October and he was able to locate the suspect’s truck in March with help from DPS Intelligence. Panola Deputies arrested Hinton after indictment.
On Sept. 30, 2014 Stacie Laine Soape, 43; Hinton; Michael Duane Nettles, 31; and Elizabeth Ann Newton, all from Carthage, Texas, stole twelve head of penned yearlings around midnight from a Harrison County ranch. Soape, Nettles and Newton then returned to the ranch later that night and stole saddles and tools.
Seven of the twelve head of cattle have been retrieved and Hinton allegedly took his share of five head of yearlings from a hidden location in Panola County on the night of the theft. Three saddles, assorted tack and numerous power tools and equipment were recovered on Oct. 2, 2014.
“Ear notches were important in locating and identifying the stolen cattle we have recovered.” said Hand, “However, branding provides a much more effective way for authorities to retrieve stolen livestock, especially if they have been taken to an auction or feedlot.”
TSCRA would like to thank the following for their roles in this lengthy investigation and indictment: Harrison County Sheriff’s Office Detective BJ Fletcher; Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake and his Investigators and Patrol Deputies; Panola County Constables Mitch Norton and Bryan Murff; Texas DPS Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division; Louisiana Brand Investigator Carnie Burcham; Harrison County District Attorney Coke Solomon and his staff; and TSCRA Market Inspector Pat McGuigan.
Anyone with further information regarding the unaccounted five head of stolen cattle in this case should contact TSCRA’s Operation Cow Thief hotline at 888-830-2333 or call Hand at 903-592-5252. A cash reward may be paid to individuals who can provide useful information leading to the arrest and indictment of suspect(s). Individuals reporting information may choose to remain anonymous.
TSCRA has 30 special rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma who have in-depth knowledge of the cattle industry and are trained in all facets of law enforcement. All are commissioned as Special Rangers by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
TSCRA is a 138-year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 16,500 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.