Tahlequah Daily Press

Z_CNHI News Service

November 2, 2013

Cattle rustling suspect arrested

Ada — State agents arrested a man Thursday wanted for allegedly stealing and selling cattle from a ranch in Pontotoc County. Agents continue to search for an alleged co-conspirator.

David Lynn Wallace, 48, Atwood, was arrested by agents with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry on suspicion of larceny of domestic cattle. Agents suspect Wallace and another man, Larry Gene Smith Jr., 48, Atwood, stole nearly 100 head of cattle.

Wallace appeared on camera before Judge Steven Kessinger Friday where his bond was set at $500,000. He did not enter a plea.

ODAFF issued a press release Friday which said while watching a residence in Coalgate Thursday, a known hangout for Smith, the release said, a man jumped in a car and sped away.

“When agents got the vehicle stopped, the occupant of the fleeing vehicle was identified as David Wallace from Atwood,” the release said.

According to an affidavit filed by ODAFF Agent Ricky Rushing, the cattle were reported missing in early October by Jet McCoy, who is the caretaker of the cattle, owned by Randy Heflin. Heflin had 179 steers weighing between 500 and 700 pounds on land leased near Allen, according to the affidavit.

Agents investigating the alleged theft said they discovered at least 43 of the steers were sold at Atoka Livestock Auction from September through October. Rushing wrote in the affidavit that Wallace had previously worked for the owner of the land, but was fired in September. According to the affidavit, Rushing spoke with co-conspirator Larry Smith Oct. 22.

“Under Miranda, Larry Smith confessed that he did steal steers from Heflin/McCoy Ranch and was accompanied by David Wallace,” Rushing wrote. “Larry Smith explained how it was David Wallace’s idea since David Wallace had worked on the ranch and had a key to the gate. About two or three months ago, David Wallace called Larry Smith asking him to haul some calves for him.”

Smith reportedly said he and Wallace made several trips to Atoka Livestock Auction hauling “about six to nine stolen steers during each trip to the livestock auction during the months of September and October of 2013,” Rushing wrote.

Investigators reportedly discovered evidence that Smith and Wallace had indeed sold steers in the last few months. They tracked down the steers at various ranches around southern Oklahoma and confirmed they were the missing steers which belonged to Heflin, according to the affidavit.

After speaking with agents, Smith reportedly disappeared. An arrest warrant with a bond of $500,000 was issued for Smith.

Agents are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Smith to call 405-522-6102. Callers can leave a message if the call is after hours. Agents check messages throughout the evening.

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