Timber theft.

Don Staples dstaples at livingston.net
Fri Jun 12 16:17:29 EST 1998


I have just finished a classic timber theft write up and thought the
group might be interested in the history of a timber theft.

A woman in our town has been working over small tracts of land for the
last several years.  Her classic method is to buy a tax office landowner
list, and send solicitation letters out to everyone with ten acres are
more, offering to buy  land, timber or both.  For the same period of
time she has been ripping off land owners by underpaying, not paying, or
singinga song about lost income from sorry timber and walking away after
a token payment of far less than value cut, etc. 

With news paper articles, land owner seminars, law enforcement, and
foresters telling the world not to sell to some one using this ploy, she
has been very successful.  Until last week.

I received a call Saturday, two weeks ago, to look at a ladies property
for timber evaluation and a potential sale.  The following Monday I
cruised the tract and came up with approximately $10,000.00 worth of
timber on 12 acres.  Called the lady that evening and told her my
findings.  She then told me that the timber pimp identified above had
called her and offered her $6,700.00 for the land and timber.  In
comparing my cruise with her offer, the lady said she would call the
pimp and tell her to take a hike, and would have to talk to her kids
about selling the timber and keeping the land.  

Apparently she called the pimp that evening and severed any further
discussion.  

Two weeks pass, I received a call on a Thursday  that my loggers had
trespassed from the 12 acres, cut a fence and interred the adjacent
property of a friend of mine.  The friend was calling to eat my butt
about the trespass, but was surprised to find that I was not responsible
for the logging.  I drove to the site, found loggers on the tract
(loggers I know) and asked what was up?  They told me that the timber
pimp had bought the property and contracted for them to cut it.  I said
stop all cutting and lock your equipment up where it stands, your
trespassing.  I called the sheriff (to make my threat legal) and the
land owner.  The land owner arrived 2 hours later, upset and mad.  She
gave the sheriff a statement and he issued an arrest warrant for the
pimp.  

The pimp was arrested, jailed, posted bond, and said it was all a
mistake, she had the land owners permission to cut the timber, since she
was going to buy the property.  In Texas any kind of contract kicks it
out of criminal and into civil court, which can take years, cost a
bunch, the pimp would declare bankruptcy, and the land owner would be
out the money and the timber.  Fortunately, there were witnesses to all
conversations and the pimp did not succeed in her attempt to evade
criminal prosecution.

A stump cruise of the tract indicated $12,000.00 had been cut before
shut down.  Payment for one week of haul to mill had been shut down by
the sheriff, so the lady will receive approximately 2/3’rds of her
money, and hopes to recoup the rest through the courts.

This is a case where time and circumstances worked on the good guys
side.   
-- 
Don Staples
UIN 4653335

My Ego Stroke:  http://www.livingston.net/dstaples/



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