FORT STOCKTON, Texas — Joshua Ray Greathouse, 34 and Christopher James Duforat, 32, both of Fort Stockton are in custody following charges of third-degree felony theft. The arrests are the result of an investigation led by the Pecos County Sheriff’s Office with the assistance of Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Special Ranger Clay McKinney.
A Pecos County rancher contacted McKinney and the sheriff’s office in May to report that their ranch shop and residence had been burglarized. The stolen items included two dune buggies, a trailer mounted welder, and numerous other pieces of equipment and household items.
The nature of the items taken led the rancher to suspect the involvement of a former employee, identified as Greathouse.
Investigators quickly found additional evidence implicating Greathouse and an accomplice, Duforat, in the theft. The two men managed to elude investigators for several weeks but were eventually nabbed by a fugitive task force comprised of the U.S. Marshall’s Service, Pecos County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Stockton Police Department and TSCRA Special Rangers.
Greathouse and Duforat were both located by the task force June 13, 2019, and taken into custody without incident. They were booked into the Pecos County Jail and remain in custody as of writing. Greathouse is being held without bond on a parole violation warrant and has an $8,000 bond for the theft. Duforat is being held on a $50,000 bond for the theft and additional unrelated charges.
If convicted, each man could face up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine in connection to the ranch theft.
The investigation is ongoing, but to date, more than $50,000 worth of stolen equipment has been recovered.
“When equipment is stolen from a rancher, it directly impacts their ability to care for their livestock and carry on with the day-to-day operation of the ranch,” said McKinney. “It’s incredibly rewarding to return the property to its rightful owner and see it put back to good use.”
McKinney thanked the Pecos County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshall’s Service and Fort Stockton Police Department for their work on the case and apprehending the suspects.
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.