According to a release from the Texas A&M Forest Service, Troy Lee Grice, 48, of Groveton was arrested February 16th in Cherokee County for Timber Purchase as a Trustee with Intent to Defraud. The timber is valued between $100,000 and $200,000, making the crime a second degree felony.

Grice turned himself in to authorities after a warrant was obtained by Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement officers and was later released on a $30,000 bond.

“Landowners can protect their property and investment by closely monitoring their harvest. It is very important that every timber contract clearly state terms of payment. In the event that a contractor fails to adhere to those terms, the landowner should halt the process until payment is received,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Investigator Mike Kuhnert.

To prevent timber theft, landowners should:

  • Visit their property frequently.
  • Have someone they know and trust report any cutting on their land immediately.
  • Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
  • For the best price, insist on getting bids for their timber.
  • Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on theirs.
  • Utilize trail/deer cameras on their property that can record suspicious activity or individuals.
  • Always hold their timber contractor to the agreed upon terms.

Landowners who are unfamiliar with selling their timber are urged to contact their local Texas A&M Forest Service office. Texas A&M Forest Service field staff assists landowners with the process of securing the services of a professional resource manager to help select trees for harvest, estimate values and find potential buyers.

To report suspected timber theft or suspicious activity, call the Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement timber theft hotline at 1-800-364-3470.