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The remains of a 40-inch diameter black walnut tree, estimated to be at least 140 years old.  Randall Walker cut the tree down, but due to the large size could only remove one log, estimated at $1,400 market value. (Photo courtesy of Hill /USACE)

The remains of a 40-inch diameter black walnut tree, estimated to be at least 140 years old. Randall Walker cut the tree down, but due to the large size could only remove one log, estimated at $1,400 market value. (Photo courtesy of Hill /USACE)

Iowa Man Sentenced to Jail for Stealing Walnut Trees from Federal Lands

By Tina Shaw
External Affairs

Randall Todd Walker, a 50 year-old resident of Des Moines, Iowa, was sentenced, May 9, to 15 months imprisonment for cutting and removing 32 black walnut trees from property under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announced U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Klinefeldt.

U.S. District Judge John A. Jarvey also ordered Walker to serve three years of supervised release following incarceration. Additionally, Judge Jarvey ordered Walker to pay restitution in the amount of $56,225 and to pay a $100 special assessment for the Crime Victims Fund.

"We take things like this very seriously and work to preserve and protect our federal resources for the enjoyment of the public. Anytime a theft occurs we will work to prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent," said Col. Mark Deschenes, commander of the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Walker had previously pleaded guilty to removing the walnut trees from Neal Smith National
Wildlife Refuge, which is under the control of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, as well as from other property under the control of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at the following locations: the downtown Riverside area in Des Moines, Iowa; the Sycamore area, in Polk County, Iowa; and the Lake Red Rock area in Marion County, Iowa.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Office of Law Enforcement Deputy Assistant Director Edward Grace was pleased at the multi-agency and cross-programmatic collaboration on this case.

“This case took a lot of time, effort and excellent investigative work to gather evidence necessary for a criminal conviction, “ said Grace.

The investigation was conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Iowa Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement Bureau, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The case was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Iowa.

The Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers works in partnership with other federal and state agencies to manage and conserve natural resources, consistent with ecosystem management principles, while providing a quality public outdoor recreation experiences. For more information about the Rock Island District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers visit http://www.mvr.usace.army.mil

 

Last updated: June 28, 2013