Douglas F. Schaefer, 68 and Peggy A. Schaefer, 61, of Stanton, Texas, have surrendered to authorities on third-degree felony warrants out of Bell County for Theft of Livestock. The charges are the result of an investigation conducted by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Marvin Wills.
In July, Wills was contacted by a Bell County ranch owner who alleged that two former employees had stolen cattle from the ranch during their employment. Wills immediately initiated an investigation and found evidence that suggested that between 1999 and 2007, Douglas Schaefer, the long-time ranch manager, and his wife, Peggy, had sold 102 head of cattle belonging to the ranch, keeping the proceeds for themselves. Wills presented the cases to a Bell County grand jury who handed down third-degree felony indictments for both suspects.
The Schaefers surrendered to the Martin County Sheriff’s Office and were booked into the Martin County jail. Each has since posted a $25,000 bond and been released pending trial.
“It is unfortunate, but we have seen several recent incidents where employees have taken advantage of their employers’ trust,” said Special Ranger Wills. “It is vital that producers remain vigilant, especially if they are not involved in day-to-day operations.”
Wills suggests that ranch owners keep a detailed inventory of ranch equipment, livestock and assets, and carefully watch expenditures and accounts receivable to ensure they are handled appropriately.
Wills and TSCRA would like to thank the Bell County District Attorney’s Office for their assistance in bringing these cases before a grand jury.