Another trucking defendant pleads guilty in canned corn heist

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The owner of a small Memphis trucking company is the latest person to plead guilty to charges stemming from a federal indictment of a cargo theft scheme.

Earl Stanley Nunn, 59, entered a guilty plea to one felony count of theft of an interstate shipment on Monday, July 14 at the U.S. Court for the Western District of Missouri in Springfield, Mo.

According to the plea agreement, Nunn, the owner of Nu World Trucking LLC, was the leader of a cargo theft ring that used the resources of Nu World Trucking to steal cargo in various states. One codefendant in the case, Nunn’s nephew Michael Lee Sherley, 49, also of Memphis, pleaded guilty to the same charge in March. Nunn’s son, Roderick Nunn, entered a guilty plea in a related case in the Western District of Michigan as well.

Both Sherley and the elder Nunn pleaded guilty to their roles in a May 11, 2013, theft of a shipment of canned corn from the Snappy Mart Truck Stop in West Plains, Mo. The shipment, valued at $73,000, was bound for a food bank in Little Rock, Ark. Both men admitted that they traveled through Missouri and Indiana with the stolen cargo before being apprehended in Michigan.

Prosecutors charge that the cargo theft ring operated by driving a bobtail tractor through truck stops and service stations located on or near interstate highways, looking for parked or unattended trailers that were not coupled to road tractors. When they located a semitrailer that appeared to be unattended, they would steal the semitrailer and the goods it contained by hooking to it and driving off. After having stolen a semitrailer and its contents, the stolen goods were usually transported to the Chicago, Ill., and Detroit, Mich., areas to be “fenced” or sold.

According to U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson, the government plans to establish that the co-conspirators committed thefts in various states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.

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 pre-sentence investigation by the United States Probation Office.

A spokesman for U.S. Attorney Dickinson said no date has been set for the sentencing hearing.

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