Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement investigators arrested Christopher Clay Sprayberry of Texarkana on nine felony warrants issued by Upshur County.
Sprayberry, 30, has been held in the Upshur County Jail since March 17 on 10 felony theft charges, with bonds totalling $260,000. On a separate felony theft charge, no bond was set.
The joint investigation involving TFS law enforcement and Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd’s office began nine months ago after various reports and allegations were made against Sprayberry while he was employed at Ark-La-Tex Logging and Forestry in Texarkana, Ark.
“We have been working closely with Mr. Byrd and his staff in Upshur County on the reported allegations made against Ark-La-Tex Logging and Forestry representatives and this arrest is a direct result of those on-going investigations,” said TFS Chief of Law Enforcement Les Rogers.
“By all accounts, this is another example of someone taking advantage of our citizens. I applaud the efforts of the Texas A&M Forest Service for their tireless work and dedication to see this man brought to justice,” said Upshur County District Attorney Billy Byrd.
“While these investigations are very time consuming, these indictments should stand as a warning for other individuals that might consider stealing timber and robbing our natural resources,” Byrd said.
TFS also continues to work closely with county officials on allegations against other individuals and organizations operating in Harrison and Panola counties.
Timber theft is a crime that potentially affects everyone. Timber owners incur monetary loss and the removal of natural resources without reforestation methods to ensure new forests for the future.
To help property owners avoid timber theft tactics, the Texas A&M Forest Service advises:
• Have someone you know and trust report any cutting on your land immediately.
• Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
• For the best price insist on getting bids for your timber.
• Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on yours.
• If you do not know the timber business, find someone to help determine volumes, current prices and potential bidders.
For detailed information visit http://origin.library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1102418437760-421/Timber+theft+is+a+crime.pdf.
To report suspected timber theft activity call the Timber Theft Hotline 1-800-364-3470 or contact Texas A&M Forest Service at 936-639-8113.