Whitesburg KY

One to plead guilty to equipment thefts

One of three Letcher County residents charged with conspiring to steal more than $1 million worth of trucks and heavy equipment has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced next month in federal court in Pikeville.

Roger Tolliver, 61, of Deane, is scheduled to appear at a sentencing hearing before U.S. District Judge Amul R. Thapar on November 5, during which Tolliver will admit to his role in an interstate theft ring which brought stolen pickup trucks, dump trucks, trailers, and other equipment to Letcher County.

Tolliver was originally charged in March 2012 after the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department found some of the stolen equipment on Tolliver’s property at Deane and at a natural gas well site nearby on Rockhouse Mountain.

Also charged in the case are Henry Anthony Hall, 50, of Jenkins, and Sharlene Pierce, 41, of Neon. Neither Hall, who is listed as a prison escapee in federal court documents associated with the case, nor Pierce have entered pleas in the case.

At the time Tolliver, Hall and Pierce were arrested here, Lt. Brian Damron of the Letcher County Sheriff ’s Department said more than 20 pieces of stolen equipment were recovered from the sites at Rockhouse Mountain and Deane.

A year after Tolliver, Hall and Pierce were charged locally by the sheriff’s department and Fleming- Neon City Police, all three suspects were named in a federal grand jury indictment charging them with conspiring in the interstate transportation of stolen vehicles and interstate transportation of stolen goods.

The indictment, returned March 7, 2013 in U.S. District Court in Pikeville, says “it was a part of the conspiracy that one or more members of the conspiracy would steal motor vehicles and other goods from various places, including locations in Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia. It was further a part of the conspiracy that one or more members of the conspiracy would alter and obliterate Vehicle Identification Numbers on the stolen motor vehicles and goods.”

Citing as one example of how the conspiracy among Tolliver, Hall and Pierce operated, the indictment says that, “On or about Dec. 17, 2011, a member of the conspiracy stole a 2002 Ford F-250 (truck) and other equipment from a location in Morristown, Tennessee” and then “transported the stolen truck into Kentucky,” where it was “received” by Hall and “sold” to Tolliver.

“On or about March 12, 2012, Roger Tolliver possessed at his residence in Letcher County the stolen 2002 Ford F-250,” the indictment says.

The indictment cites similar instances where Tolliver, Hall and Pierce conspired to steal a 1995 Kenworth tractor and a 2003 Rogers trailer from a location in Knoxville, Tenn., and a 2006 Chevrolet dump truck from a location in Kingsport, Tenn.

The indictment says the three also conspired to steal a 2005 Rockwood RV camper, a blue Ford farm tractor, a 2008 Peterbilt tractor, a Bobcat Skidsteer, a Bobcat excavator, a Kubota excavator, two Chicago brand generators and other equipment.

Under a plea agreement reached by Tolliver, his attorney, Steve Owens of Pikeville, and Asst. U.S. Attorney Andrew T. Boone, Tolliver has agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to steal the 2002 Ford F-250 and with possessing the stolen truck at his home. Tolliver will also admit to purchasing nine other trucks, truck beds or pieces of heavy equipment he knew were stolen. In return, the government will recommend that Tolliver be sentenced to not more than 15 months in prison and ordered to pay restitution of $135,598.

Under the charges contained in the indictment, Tolliver could have been sentenced to as many as 10 years in prison and fined as much as $250,000.

The agreement also calls for Tolliver to cooperate fully with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, to sign a financial disclosure statement, and to submit to a polygraph examination if requested.

Portions of the plea agreement have been ordered sealed pending the November 5 sentencing hearing.

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