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2015-01-01

Manhunt concludes in arrest for livestock theft

Special to the Courier

Bradley Wayne Guthrey, 25, of North Little Rock, Arkansas was arrested in Carthage on Tuesday, Dec. 9, charged with multiple felonies after his alleged involvement in the theft of approximately 70 head of cattle across Texas and Arkansas. Guthrey was also wanted on outstanding warrants out of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
In an update, on Wednesday, Dec. 17, Guthrey's suspected accomplice, Levi Boyd, 37, of Camden, Arkansas, was also arrested.
Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Rangers Toney Hurley and Brent Mast arrested Boyd, who faces charges of theft of livestock and theft of property.
Hurley and Mast are transporting Boyd back to Texas to be placed in the Panola County jail.
Rangers Larry Hand and Hurley, who initiated the original investigation that bagged Guthrey, were joined by TSCRA Special Rangers Hal Dumas, Marvin Wills, Jimmy Dickson, Mast and deputies with the Panola County Sheriff's Office.
Hand received a call from employees at the Panola Livestock Auction after a suspicious man from North Little Rock brought eight head of unbranded cattle to Carthage. The cattle were later determined to be stolen and traced back to the victim in Hearne, Texas.
Guthrey, the suspect, unloaded the cattle and left his livestock trailer at the auction barn to go to Carthage to find a motel. When Hand arrived at the auction, he inspected the cattle and noticed the trailer's VIN plate had been removed. Additionally, the license plate didn't match the trailer it was displayed on.
Panola County Constable Bryan Murff arrived at the Panola Livestock Auction at the same time Guthrey returned. Guthrey was driving a brown Dodge pickup, and upon seeing Hand and Murff he fled the scene.
Hand and Murff immediately pursued Guthrey in a high speed chase, heading toward Carthage. The suspect continued on highway 149, where he ran his truck through a gate onto the Luminant Beckville Mine property. He then abandoned the vehicle and began to run on foot to avoid authorities.
Local and state law enforcement officers, K9 officers, troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety and a DPS helicopter searched for Guthrey until after dark. During the manhunt, Hand and Hurley inventoried the suspicious cattle, stock trailer and pickup. They worked with the Panola County Sheriff's Office to collect evidence.
After an approximately seven-hour manhunt, Hurley talked to Guthrey by phone and persuaded Guthrey to give himself up to authorities. Hand and Hurley took the suspect into custody on outstanding felony warrants of parole violation, failing to appear on the charge of knowingly concealing stolen property, burglary of a commercial building and fleeing police by the use of a vehicle.
"The suspect specifically told special rangers that he targeted unbranded cattle to steal and sell at cattle auctions because they are not as easy for authorities to identify when stolen," said Hurley. "Some of the 70 stolen livestock were branded. These branded cattle were found turned out in a pasture in Camden, Arkansas. The visible brands enable Dumas and me to identify the cattle which were subsequently turned over to the rightful owners in Texas."
Guthrey confessed he was involved in cattle thefts stretching from East Texas to Central Texas and back to Arkansas. Cattle thefts were identified in Panola, Robertson, Falls, Limestone, Navarro and Leon counties. Additionally, three gooseneck trailers and other ranch equipment were recovered.
"The suspect in this case identified unbranded cattle off rural roads roaming in pastures with no nearby homes and he targeted them." said Hand. "Guthrey captured the cattle with a bag of cubes he kept in his pickup. It is crucial that ranchers properly secure their property, report suspicious activity and keep an accurate count of livestock."
Boyd's later arrest is directly connected to that of Guthrey. Boyd confessed to the TSCRA special rangers that he was involved in the theft case. TSCRA special rangers expect more charges to be filed on him.