International Wildlife Crimestoppers

Protecting North America's Fish & Wildlife Resources

Michigan- Stolen Deer Case

CO Jill Berry received a complaint from a hunter that advised his 6-point deer that he had just shot was stolen when he went back to his truck to get a knife. The complainant and his brother-in-law followed the drag marks and found where they came out to the road. The two then saw the suspect load a deer into a pick-up truck and drive away. While checking the area, CO Berry found a truck that fit the description given to her. When CO Berry made contact with the suspect, he advised that he shot a 6-point buck behind his house and took the deer to a processor. He then told the CO that if she had any more questions she could talk to his attorney and to get off his property. CO Berry, with a photograph of the 6-point in hand, checked all the local processors and located the deer. The CO’s plan was to match the antlers in the photograph taken of the deer and the complainant by the brother-in-law, with the antlers on the deer dropped off at the processor by the suspect. The only problem was that the suspect had already cut the antlers off. CO Berry and Sgt. Ron Kimmerly then obtained and executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence. Not only did the COs find and seize the 6-point antlers and the suspect’s cell phone with evidence, but also found a large amount of marijuana and two green houses built into the house on the other side of false walls. The COs then made contact with the local drug team. All the marijuana and growing implements were seized by the drug team. The COs then collected blood for DNA testing from the suspect’s vehicle trunk. The COs then went to the scene with the photograph of the deer. At this time it was dark and raining and the COs started to worry about the DNA evidence washing away. The COs were able to find the exact spot where the complainant posed with his 6-point. The COs ended up finding a small amount of blood clot tissues that held up during all the rain. Further DNA evidence, a piece of meat, was collected from a roast from the deer that was now processed, packaged and still at the processor. The DNA analysis came back showing that the DNA evidence taken from the suspect’s truck, the scene where the complainant shot the deer and from the processor, all came back to the same deer. The suspect was charged and plead guilty on the charge of trespassing and tagging a deer shot by another. The suspect was sentenced to pay $1,000.00 or serve 40 days in jail for both charges.

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