Serial cattle thief ends saga with guilty plea

Serial cattle thief Bradley Wayne Guthrey of North Little Rock, Arkansas, entered a guilty plea Nov. 1 for felony cattle theft charges that date back to 2014. He will serve five years in state prison as a result of the plea agreement. The conviction stems from an extensive investigation conducted by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Rangers with the assistance of multiple law enforcement agencies.

TSCRA Special Ranger Larry Hand and former TSCRA Special Ranger Toney Hurley led the investigation. In December 2014, Hand was called to the Panola Livestock Auction to inspect a suspicious load of cattle dropped off by Guthrey. While Hand and Panola County Constable Bryan Murff were on the scene, Guthrey returned. Upon seeing the investigators, he fled and led the two lawmen on a high-speed chase before crashing through a gate and escaping on foot.

After a seven-hour manhunt involving state and local police, K9 units and a Department of Public Safety helicopter, former TSCRA Special Ranger Hurley negotiated Guthrey’s surrender by phone.

With the assistance of fellow Special Rangers Hal Dumas, Marvin Wills, Jimmy Dickson and Brent Mast the subsequent investigation revealed numerous additional thefts. During their 2014 crime spree Guthrey and an accomplice, Levi Boyd, were involved in stealing more than 70 head of cattle and equipment across Texas and Arkansas in addition to outstanding warrants in Arkansas and Oklahoma.

The wide-ranging investigation has led to numerous convictions across Texas and has kept Guthrey incarcerated in various jurisdictions since his 2014 arrest. The Panola County conviction is among the last related to Guthrey’s spree of cattle thefts.

Hand used the sentencing as an opportunity to remind cattle producers about the importance of branding cattle. During the initial investigation, the suspect specifically told special rangers that he targeted unbranded cattle because they are not as easy for authorities to identify.

TSCRA would like to thank all of those involved in the investigation, especially the Panola County District Attorney’s Office, Panola County Sheriff’s Office and Panola County Constable Bryan Murff for their assistance on the case.