Bradley Wayne Guthrey, 25, of North Little Rock, Ark. was arrested in Carthage, Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 9 and charged with multiple felonies after it was revealed that he was involved in the theft of a total of approximately 70 head of cattle across Texas and Arkansas. Guthrey was also wanted on outstanding warrants out of Oklahoma and Arkansas.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Rangers Larry Hand and Toney Hurley initiated this investigation and were joined by TSCRA Special Rangers Hal Dumas, Marvin Wills, Jimmy Dickson, Brent Mast and 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, Ark. brought eight head of unbranded cattle to Carthage, Texas. These eight head 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 at a high rate of speed toward Carthage and went around the loop. Guthrey 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 Police, Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers and a DPS helicopter were used to search 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 used negotiation skills to talk Guthrey into giving 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, Ark. Due to the visible brands, these cattle were identified by Dumas and me as stolen and 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 the following counties: 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 was able to capture 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.”
This is a very complex and ongoing investigation. TSCRA special rangers expect more charges and arrests to be made. TSCRA will release more information when appropriate.
TSCRA would like to thank the following officers and agencies for their assistance in this investigation:
- Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake and all divisions of his department
- Panola County Constables Brian Murff and Mitch Norton and their deputies
- Panola County District Attorney’s Office
- Hallsville K9 Officers
- Limestone County Sheriff Dennis Wilson, CID Sgt. Jason Ash, Captain Murray Agnew, Investigator Chad Walker
- Falls County District Attorney’s Office
- Ouachita County Captain Mike Hall, Investigator Justin Starns, and Sheriff David Norwood
- Arkansas State Police Special Agent Corwin Battle
- Navarro County Sheriff’s Department
Source: Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association