Recently, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources reported the theft of nine walnut trees from a state forest. The two men who have since been accused of the crime have since turned themselves in to authorities. The individuals are now facing felony theft charges, according to authorities.
Early in the year, an employee at the state park noted tire tracks which led him to investigate the area. The forestry worker says he subsequently discovered that nine walnut trees were missing. An official from the DNR law enforcement bureau notes that it appears the trees had been cut down, sawed into logs, then loaded into trucks and hauled away.
The investigation into the matter apparently suggested that the wood had been taken to a nearby locale and sold for approximately $4,000. Both of the men supposedly involved have since been released on bond. The individuals -- one a 30-year-old, the other 38 -- are facing a number of charges, including second-degree theft.
It remains to be seen how the defendants, alongside their respective defense counsel, choose to respond to the felony charges now pending against them. Of course, each defendant has the option of forcing Iowa prosecutors to actually prove the charges in court and beyond a reasonable doubt. Counsel will work to protect a defendant's legal rights while fighting for the outcome most favorable to the client. Sometimes, that means a negotiated plea agreement in exchange for lesser charges and/or a reduced sentence; other times, it means contesting the accusations at trial.
Source: ketv.com, "Iowa men accused of stealing walnut trees charged with felony theft", Taylor Barth, June 8, 2017