Suspected Cattle Thief Behind Bars After TSCRA Special Ranger Investigation
KARNES CITY, Texas — A Fayette County man, Andre D. McKenzie, is behind bars in Karnes City following his arrest for felony cattle theft. The arrest is the result of an investigation by Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Kenny Murchison.
Murchison initiated the investigation July 1, 2018, after a Fayette County rancher reported that he was missing six cows and a calf. The rancher noted that they went missing sometime between June 28 and June 30 while he was out of town. Murchison discovered tire tracks where the cattle had been loaded but had little else to go on until a tip pointed him to one of the ranchers past employees.
The tipster identified Andre D. McKenzie, 31, of La Grange, as a suspect in the theft and alleged that he had sold the missing cattle at an unknown livestock auction. While Murchison was following up on the lead, the same victim in October reported that five cows and a Hereford bull had been stolen from another of his properties.
Soon after, Murchison discovered that McKenzie had sold six cows and a calf at the Karnes County Livestock Auction that matched the description of the cattle stolen in June. He then found that McKenzie sold five cows and a Hereford bull at the Atascosa Livestock Auction, which matched the description of the animals taken in the second theft.
While Murchison was preparing warrants to arrest McKenzie for the first two thefts, he was contacted by Special Ranger Robin Clark. Clark informed him that McKenzie was in the process of selling 12 roping steers and a heifer at the Pearsall Livestock Auction. None of the cattle were branded, but the heifer had a green ear tag with the letter “K” printed on it. Murchison could not locate any reports of missing cattle matching the description, so the sale was allowed to proceed.
Two days later Murchison received a call from another Fayette County rancher who reported that he was missing 12 roping steers and a heifer with a green ear tag.
McKenzie was eventually arrested Dec. 16, 2018, in Fayette County and later transported to the Karnes County Jail. He remains in custody awaiting trial on three third-degree felony theft of livestock charges. Each charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, plus restitution.
Murchison thanked the Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Fayette County District Attorney’s Office, Special Ranger Robin Clark and TSCRA’s market inspection team for their assistance on the case.
TSCRA’s Special Rangers are an elite group of law enforcement officers who have extensive knowledge of the cattle industry and primarily investigate cattle theft and other agricultural crimes, though they are well-trained in all facets of law enforcement. In all, TSCRA has 30 Special Rangers stationed throughout Texas and Oklahoma who are commissioned through the Texas Department of Public Safety or Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.
The Special Rangers also oversee more than 80 TSCRA market inspectors who collect data, such as brands and other identifying marks on 4 to 5 million cattle sold at 100 Texas livestock markets each year. That information is entered into the TSCRA’s recording and retrieval system, which is a vital tool for law enforcement when investigating theft cases.
For more TSCRA news releases, visit tscra.org.