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Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports the recovery of stolen property in Shelby County

On August 7, The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) received a call for suspicious activity involving the transport of a backhoe.  Blue Diamond Hot Shot (BDHS) out of Gary, Texas was contracted by Christy Borders, 46 of Center, to transport a backhoe to Shreveport, LA.  During the course of setting up a location to pick up the equipment, Borders changed the location spots for different reasons. Borders also told BDHS that the equipment would need to he hauled after sunset. BDHS took possession of the equipment and became suspicious of the property when it was observed the vehicle identification number (VIN) appeared to have been tampered with. BDHS left the location spot with the equipment and immediately contacted the SCSO.

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Investigator Del Birdwell and Timpson Police Officer Michelle Ashworth responded to the area where BDHS advised they had stopped with the equipment. BDHS had entered into Panola County. Law enforcement officers with the Carthage Police Department and the Panola County Sheriff’s Office responded to the location to assist Birdwell and Ashworth.

Birdwell identified the equipment as a 4WD John Deere 310 SJ backhoe on a trailer. Birdwell inspected the equipment and observed that the third, fifth and ninth digits on the VIN had been altered.  A driver for BDHS advised Birdwell that Borders was calling him repeatedly. Birdwell advised the driver to tell Borders to come to the location in Carthage.

Borders arrived on the scene in Carthage and Birdwell questioned her about the equipment. Borders stated she was selling the equipment for an individual whose name changed several times while she was talking to Birdwell. Borders denied having any knowledge of the VIN being altered. Borders stated she had sent pictures of the equipment to the potential buyer and had not noticed anything out of the ordinary. Borders showed Birdwell the photos she sent the buyer. The picture showing the VIN plate was taken with the plate off the machine. The picture shows two rivet holes exposed with one hole having damage around the edge. Borders was extremely nervous while being questioned by Birdwell and continuously had to gather her thoughts before answering questions.

Borders was advised that the equipment would be impounded until ownership could be proven. The equipment was transported to the SCSO.

On August 8, Birdwell made contact with Doggett Equipment in Lufkin. A representative of the company ran the VIN for Birdwell and it revealed the equipment belonged to Panola County Road and Bridge.

Birdwell contacted Panola County and he was advised the equipment had been sold in an auction. Panola County stated the equipment was sold to Panola Enterprises, owned by Larry Fields.

Larry Fields contacted Birdwell to inquire about the stolen equipment. Fields traveled to the SCSO and was able to positively identify the recovered property as his. Fields further stated he had filed a report with Panola County. The equipment was released to Fields.

Charges are forthcoming out of Panola County for the individuals involved with this crime.

The SCSO will seek warrants for Engaging in Organized Criminal Activity (M-A) and Tampering with Identification Numbers (M-A).

Panola County will seek warrants for Theft (F-3).

The SCSO would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the Carthage Police Department, Panola County Sheriff’s Office and the Timpson Police Department for their assistance in this situation.