Former employer discovered suspect sold cattle he didn’t own
FALLS COUNTY, Texas — It seemed like a mundane task: cleaning out a ranch truck following an employee’s termination. But stray papers left behind weren’t just trash. They were evidence of a crime.
When the ranch manager came across the sale receipts from a local livestock commission, he grew suspicious. As far as he knew, Logan G. Collier, the former employee whose name was on the paperwork, owned no cattle.
The ranch manager immediately contacted Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Marvin Wills, who initiated an investigation with the assistance of fellow special rangers Kenny Murchison and Hal Dumas and Falls County District Attorney Jody Gilliam. Through the investigation, they found record of Collier consigning and selling 11 head of cattle for a total of $8,067.45 between May 31, 2019 and December 20, 2019. Additional records showed the former employee had used the ranch-provided truck and trailer to transport the stolen livestock to the auction market.
Six theft of livestock charges — third degree felonies — were filed against Collier. He turned himself into authorities at the Lee County Jail on January 17. He was released the next day after posting bonds totaling $30,000.
On Wednesday, the Falls County District Attorney presented the six cases to a grand jury, who returned six indictments of theft of livestock, a third-degree felony, against Collier. Collier is currently on felony probation out of Hutchinson County for assault of a public servant, another third-degree felony.
While cattle theft may sound like a crime from the old west, Wills says it’s still a big threat to ranchers, and thieves have only grown more sophisticated over time. But there are ways cattle producers can help protect themselves, like branding.
“Of these 11 head stolen and sold, only one animal was branded,” Wills says. “Descriptions are helpful and ear tags are, too, but there are a lot of black cows out there and ear tags are easily removed. But a brand is a permanent mark that the animal belongs to you.”