Trio arrested for illegally chopping down, selling more than $5,000 in black walnut trees

Illegally chopping down black walnut trees and selling them for lumber resulted in the arrest of three Rogers County residents.

According to the affidavit filed in Rogers County District Court, deputies were dispatched to a residence near 4210 Road in Claremore on reports of theft and vandalism.

Deputies report that the reported victim owns 10 acres of land, which is also where he stores his tractor and other equipment.

The man “learned that individuals had been on his property, using his tractor, mini excavator and other equipment to cut down and remove several black walnut trees from his property,” according to law enforcement records.

Deputies later identified those involved as Tyler Murphy, Dominique Murphy, and Megan Murphy.

Through the course of the investigation, deputies learned the individuals had done significant damage to the tractor and other equipment.

Deputies also reported learning that the property owner had established a clear property line and had put fence posts along the property line, and was in the process of completing the fence “when he began being victimized by the suspects.”

During the course of the investigation, Tyler Murphy was arrested in an unrelated incident.

“During the course of the investigation, Deputy Lee interviewed Megan Murphy about the incident involving the trees and use of neighbor’s equipment without permission. This interview was requested by Megan,” according to the deputy’s records. “During this interview, Megan essentially advised she, Tyler Murphy, Dominique Murphy, along with four additional individuals took down the fence to access the walnut trees. Megan initially reported that they planned to only remove 20 trees but ‘went hog wild and cut more.’”

She reportedly told deputies that once they realized the quality of the timber and the monetary value, they continued to cut down trees.

“Through working with the U.S Department of Agriculture and Forestry, I was able to obtain receipts from Dominique selling a portion of the lumber to a saw mill. The suspects received $5,292.10 for the timber sold between Jan. 10 and Feb. 28. Additional receipts are pending for other lumber sold,” according to Rogers County Sheriff’s Office.

The trio are facing possible criminal charges that include: larceny of farm equipment, grand larceny, unauthorized use of motor vehicle, conspiracy to commit a felony, trespassing for timber theft, malicious injury to property, and wrongful injury of timber.

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