Texas Timber Tempts Thieves

COLLEGE STATION (January 15, 2014) Timber theft is on the rise in the state and over the past four months, more than 20 cases have been reported from Newton County to Bowie County in East Texas, the Texas A&M Forest Service said Wednesday.

Many of the thefts targeted absentee landowners who weren’t around to protect their property, the forest service said.

About a third of the more than 200,000 family forest landowners in East Texas don’t live on the properties, the forest service said.

Rising prices have made the timber tempting to thieves, the forest service said.

“We are discovering that in more cases than not, the thieves are promising higher than market timber trend prices,” said Les Rogers, Texas A&M Forest Service Chief Law Enforcement Officer.

“In a few instances thieves also claimed to be affiliated with certain reputable organizations to gain the trust of unsuspecting landowners.”