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Texas A&M forest service help timber landowner seek justice

Posted at 9:00 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 22:00:03-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Timber theft is an increasing issue, often these criminals get away with it due to a lack of knowledge on behalf of landowners.

The Texas A&M forest service law enforcement department is giving timber landowners a chance to seek justice. And protect the land of the lone star state.

Timber fraud is a crime happening in plain sight. But the Texas A&M forest service says it's not letting these criminals slip through the cracks any longer.

In 2019, a timber harvester called the Texas A&M forest service about a suspicion of timber theft happening right under his nose.

"In our case, the Texas forest service investigators estimated that perhaps as much maybe even more than 15 thousand of timber was stolen from our property,” said David Alder, a timber landowner.

No matter what the case may be these investigators say they're working to safeguard Texas natural resources.

”We have a variety of different types of cases," said Joshua Mizrany, an investigator for Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Department. "We have the unauthorized harvest, where someone is not aware that somebody comes onto their property,”

And it's not just the landowners getting scammed.

“Now interestingly enough," added Alder. "Not only were we as landowners defrauded and stolen from in this case but also logger himself was stolen from,”

Alder says he is grateful Texas A&M forest service investigators ensure justice is served. Mizrany says it's all part of the job.

”Our job we investigate that when we get a complaint that has reasonable suspicion to it," shared Mizrany. "That we will investigate that to find if a crime has been committed,”

Alder says the best thing to do is trust and verify but also by law utilizing contracts.

Now Alder is working to help other landowners before it's too late.

“We are trying to find a way to come up with a sensible statute that will protect landowners against this kind of theft while at the same time not adversely affecting normal operations,” shared Alder.

Thanks to the Texas A&M forest service investigation a grand jury indicted three suspects on second-degree felony timber fraud.