An employee at a Texas feedlot has pled guilty to stealing more than 95 head of cattle from his employer.
Jeffery Dean Provence, 52, of Texico, New Mexico turned himself into authorities on June 13 after he was charged with theft of livestock in Bailey County, Texas.
An investigation was launched in April by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Dean Bohannon after he was contacted by Frontera Feedyard.
The feedyard alleged that Provence was selling cattle as his own at a local auction barn. Records from the sale barn show that Provence frequently delivered cattle for the feedyard to sell, but he would occasionally check a few animals under his name.
After reviewing numerous transaction Bohannon determined that from Aug. 2014 to April 2018 a total of 95 cattle were sold under Provence’s name. The total amount of sale proceeds stolen was more than $62,000.
A surveillance operation was setup at the sale barn by Bohannon with the aid of Special Ranger Harold Dempsey and Muleshoe Police Lt. Benny Parker. When Provence attempted to sell cattle again he was confronted by the three officers and he agreed to an interview at the Muleshoe Police Department. During the interview Provence confessed to stealing the 95 cattle traced back through sale receipts.
Provence has paid for the value of the stolen cattle and received a two-year deferred sentence.
TSCRA and Bohannon hope the case will serve as a warning to workers who may consider stealing livestock from employers.
“It may seem like an easy, harmless transgression to take a few cattle or supplies from your employer, but that is called theft,” says Bohannon. “It is against the law and you will pay the price when we catch you.”