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Two-truck owner pleads guilty in cargo theft ring targeting unhooked trailers

Updated Aug 6, 2014

A two-truck fleet owner based in Memphis has pleaded guilty to heading a cargo theft ring in which he and two others would cruise through truck stops looking for unattended and unhooked trailers and drive off with them, according to prosecutors.

Earl Stanley Nunn, 59, plead guilty last month to theft of an interstate shipment, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office handling the case.

Nunn, owner of Nu World Trucking, would use one of his tractors to steal the trailers in various states. His accomplices included his nephew, Michael Lee Sherley, 49, and his son, Roderick Nunn. Both pleaded guilty earlier this year to charges brought against them.

When the trio would find a trailer that appeared unattended, they would hook and go, prosecutors allege. They would then transport the trailer and its goods to either Chicago or Detroit to be “fenced” or sold.

Prosecutors say they plan to establish that the cargo theft ring included thefts in 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.

According to DOT records, Nu World gained common carrier status in 2009, which was revoked twice in 2012. It was reinstated before being revoked again in July 2013. The company reported operating two trucks, and the SMS shows a speeding violation in April 2013. 

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