February 25, 2020

    Michael Bennett arrested in timber theft investigation

    COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement investigators arrested James Michael “Mike” Bennett of Cleveland, Texas for Timber Purchase as a Trustee with Intent to Defraud on Feb. 13, 2020 in Montgomery County. Bennett, 55, was charged with a state jail felony as the timber was valued between $500 and $20,000.

    “Timber theft is more common than most people realize and most cases begin with an agreed upon contract. Victims deserve to be made whole and as a department, we seek justice for these individuals,” said Texas A&M Forest Service Law Enforcement Investigator David Colton.

    To prevent timber theft, landowners should:
    • Visit their property frequently.
    • Have someone they know and trust report any cutting on their land immediately.
    • Never sign a contract without checking several references of the buyer.
    • For the best price, insist on getting bids for their timber.
    • Mark all property lines to assure cutting on adjacent property does not encroach on theirs.
    • Utilize trail/deer cameras on their property that can record suspicious activity or individuals.
    • Always hold their timber contractor to the agreed upon terms.

    Landowners who are unfamiliar with selling their timber are urged to contact their local Texas A&M Forest Service office. Agency field staff assists landowners with the process of securing the services of a professional resource manager to help select trees for harvest, estimate values and find potential buyers.

    To report suspected timber theft or suspicious activity, call the Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement timber theft hotline at 1-800-364-3470.

    Visit for more information.

    The Texas A&M Forest Service law enforcement department works diligently with local officials to help bring those responsible for timber theft and other violations of the natural resource code to justice.



    David Colton, Law Enforcement Investigator, Texas A&M Forest Service, 409-200-5115,

    Texas A&M Forest Service Communications Office, 979-¬458-6606,