A Texas Game Warden has asked for the public to help identify the suspect in illegal poaching carried out at a Texas lake last week.
The McLennan County Game Warden said a surveillance video shows a silver Ford F-150 driving from the scene after someone inside the vehicle shot two white-tailed deer at the Lake Waco marina, KWTX reported.
The crime took place on October 12, according to the game warden; the animals were left near the marina entrance.
Justin Patrick, the general manager of Lake Waco Marina, shared that the doe and buck were shot around two in the morning and still alive several hours later.
“It’s federal property, and they did this, roughly, right before 2 a.m. in the morning. At 11 o’clock, those deer were still lying there, breathing and alive,” he explained. “Suffering.”
“In addition, the suspect(s) are believed to have burglarized ‘The Minnow’ restaurant building after shooting both deer,” a Facebook post from Operation Game Thief states. “The suspect vehicle is believed to be a silver in color 2021 or 2022 Ford F-150, with luxury trim and a large work box in the bed of the truck.”
The suspect or suspects will face charges from the Waco police department, KWTX reported, as well as felony charges.
A reward of $1000 has been offered to anyone who can provide information helpful in solving the case. The award is offered through Operation Game Thief, the Crime-Stoppers Program for Texas Parks and Wildlife.
“Begun in 1981 as a result of laws passed by the 67th Legislature to help curtail poaching, the program, a function of the Law Enforcement division of The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, is highly successful, having been responsible for the payment of over $195,000 in rewards,” the OGT website explains.
The program is privately funded, “dependent on financial support from the public through the purchase of OGT merchandise and memberships, donations, sponsorships, and gifts.”
Texas game warden Michael Serbanic told KWTX that the federal property is and the suspect did not have permission to hunt there.
“We don’t know if these are licensed hunters, and then they took these animals at night with the aid of artificial lights,” Serbanic said. “All these things are illegal.”
Serbanic asked for help from the public so the suspect or suspects could be identified and faced with charges.
“We just ask the public to please provide any information on the whereabouts, the identity, or further information on who is responsible for doing this,” he told KWTX.
Those with any information have been asked to contact Operation Game Thief.