Hale County, Texas — Just one day after Rick Dillon Criswell was terminated by his employer, he came clean. The 25-year-old called his former boss to confess he’d stolen and sold 15 head of the man’s cattle during his time on the job. The Angus yearlings weighed 300 to 500 pounds and were taken three at a time.
The victim reached out to Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Special Ranger Dean Bohannon on April 7. Bohannon worked with fellow Special Ranger Harold Dempsey and Hale County Investigator Alvaro Gonzalez to investigate. The three were able to build a case against Criswell and turned it over the Hale County District Attorney Wally Hatch.
On May 27, Bohannon presented the case to a Hale County grand jury and Criswell was indicted. The special ranger was quick to credit invaluable help from Dempsey, Gonzalez and the entire Hale County Sheriff’s Office, and District Attorney Hatch.
He said cases like this are a good reminder to know who you’re hiring — and to monitor their work closely.
“It’s unfortunate,” Bohannon said. “But not everyone you meet can be trusted.”
Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association’s special rangers are an elite group of law enforcement officers who have extensive knowledge of the cattle industry. While they primarily investigate cattle theft and other agricultural crimes, they are well-trained in all facets of law enforcement. In all, the association 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 market inspectors who collect data, such as brands and other identifying marks on about 5 million cattle sold at 100 Texas livestock markets each year. That information is entered into the association’s recording and retrieval system, which is a vital tool for law enforcement when investigating theft cases.