The owner of a Memphis, Tenn.-based trucking company led a cargo theft ring whose M.O. was to bobtail through truck stops on the lookout for unattended, unhooked trailers, according to federal prosecutors.
Earl Stanley Nunn, 59, pleaded guilty July 14 to theft of an interstate shipment, reports Tammy Dickinson, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Missouri.
The scheme had included a theft in West Plains, Mo.
Nunn and his accomplices used a Nu World Trucking tractor to steal cargo in various states. When they located a semi-trailer that appeared to be unattended, they would hook and go, prosecutors say. After having stolen a semi-trailer and its contents, they usually transported the goods to the Chicago and Detroit areas to be “fenced” or sold.
Nunn’s co-conspirators included his nephew, Michael Lee Sherley, 49, of Memphis (who pleaded guilty on March 19), his son, Roderick Nunn (who pleaded guilty in a related case in the Western District of Michigan) and others.
A review of Nu World’s authority history and safety data shows that the company gained common carrier status in 2009, which was then revoked twice in 2012 and reinstated before being revoked again July 15, 2013. The company reported operating two trucks and the SMS shows one speeding violation in April 2013, with a driver-only inspection in Illinois.
The government plans to establish that co-conspirators committed thefts in various states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.
The specific charge to which both Nunn and Sherley pleaded guilty involves a theft that occurred May 11, 2013, at the Snappy Mart Truck Stop in West Plains where they stole a 2000 Wabash trailer valued at $7,500, which contained a load of Green Giant canned corn valued at $73,008.
The trailer, owned by Bryant Freight LLC, was in transit from Minnesota to a food bank in Arkansas. Nunn and Sherley admitted that they traveled through Missouri and Indiana with the stolen cargo before being apprehended in Michigan.
Under federal statutes, Nunn and Sherley are each subject to a sentence of up to 10 years in federal prison without parole, plus a fine up to $250,000.
A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office, the announcement says.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven M. Mohlhenrich. It was investigated by the FBI’s Memphis Cargo Theft Task Force, the U.S. Marshal’s Service, the West Plains Police Department and the Michigan State Highway Patrol.