By Jeff Lehr
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. —
DNA collected from a discarded paper towel led to the arrest of a Monett man in connection with thefts of cattle and farm equipment in Greene County and elsewhere in Southwest Missouri.
Howard L. Perryman, 67, appeared Friday in Greene County Circuit Court on two counts of theft and a single count of tampering with a motor vehicle. He was arrested Thursday by Greene County sheriff’s deputies following a long investigation by the rural crimes unit of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control.
The state patrol said in a news release that stolen property valued at more than $100,000 has been recovered. The property is believed to have been stolen from residents of Jasper, Lawrence, Christian and Dade counties as well as Greene County, the patrol said.
Perryman is being held in the Greene County Jail on a $1 million bond.
A probable-cause affidavit states that DNA was obtained from a used paper towel left on the ground near tire tracks associated with the theft in May of last year of 13 head of cattle from the property of Robert and Evelyn Darrow near Walnut Grove. The cattle were valued at an estimated $16,900.
Testing of the towel at the MSHP Crime Laboratory matched a DNA profile of the defendant on file in the Combined DNA Index System in March of this year, the affidavit states.
The ex-convict, who served time in the Missouri state prison system and federal prison, has numerous prior arrests for stealing cattle, robbery and other offenses and about 20 felony convictions. As a convicted felon, his DNA is on file in CODIS.
DNA also purportedly connects Perryman to a vehicle stolen in Jasper County that was recovered from a field in Greene County in 2006 when a suspect was interrupted in the act of trying to steal livestock by the property’s owner but escaped capture. A Greene County detective sent a jacket and towel found in the recovered vehicle to the state patrol’s crime lab, and DNA testing links the items to Perryman, the affidavit states.
Tire tracks tie him to the theft in June of seven head of cattle worth an estimated $25,000 from a rural Springfield property owned by W.D. Pipkin, according to the affidavit. Tracks leading from a road through a cut section of fence to a barn where the cattle were loaded matched the tread on a stolen white Chevrolet pickup truck that investigators observed in Perryman’s possession while conducting surveillance of him in June and July.
That truck also had been stolen in Jasper County on July 24, 2011.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol will be holding a news conference at 1 p.m. Monday at Troop D headquarters in Springfield at which additional details of a recent investigation into thefts of cattle and farm equipment in Southwest Missouri may be divulged.