By: Emily Koehler
Area residents may be shocked to learn Precinct 4 Deputies arrested well-known local business owner Larry Ralph Thumann just before Christmas. Thumann, the owner of Old Yeller Equipment, LLC in Splendora, was taken into custody around 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 22 at Target in Humble.
An off-duty Precinct 4 deputy constable was shopping with his 12-year-old daughter when she said, "Daddy, when you get old are you going to get bald and wear suspenders like that man?" The deputy looked up only to realize his daughter was pointing at Larry Thumann, who has had three felony charges since 2012 and had an open warrant. The deputy constable had become aware of the warrant only a few days earlier.
He followed Thumann around the store and called an officer on duty. The officer met Thumann and his wife, Vickie, outside of the store after they had checked out, and arrested Larry Thumann.
Vickie Thumann, Vice-Chairman of East Montgomery County Improvement District, asked for Thumann’s personal items while Thumann allegedly told the arresting officer that if he had stayed in Colorado, he would have never been caught.
Thumann’s first charge, Misapplication Fiduciary Property, dates back to November 13, 2012 for an act he is accused of committing that October. Thumann advertised a Caterpillar D6R bulldozer online for $57,000 for Chuck Evans, owner of Evans Heavy Equipment. Michael Elias who owns Hydropower Equipment in Florida saw the ad, became interested, and agreed to buy it. Elias paid a $5,000 deposit through a wire transfer to Thumann’s bank. Soon after, Thumann’s secretary contacted Ellis and questioned him about paying the balance. Elias then sent the remaining amount, $52,000, to Thumann. Elias did not receive the bulldozer or repayment in the coming days.
After several failed attempts at trying to reach Thumann by phone and email, Elias traveled to Texas to meet with him personally. According to Elias, Thumann said he had used the money for something else and could not be taken to jail because he knew what he was doing. He then allegedly threatened Elias with a gun, and Elias notified the police. Thumann later contacted Elias and told him he would repay him if he called off the police, according to Elias.
Thumann admitted the money had been used to pay a loan at his bank and that he sent Elias $5,000 with a promissory note, advising that the case was civil and not criminal. Elias said he did not receive that money. A warrant was issued for Thumann’s arrest with a bond recommendation of $50,000. He was arrested November 19, 2012 and posted a bond.
On or about Nov. 8, 2012, Thumann is accused of felony Theft. He offered to sell a 2003 Caterpillar 320 Excavator to Susan Van Veenendaal of Neumann Machinery Inc. for $36,500. Veenendaal agreed to the sale and received an invoice from Old Yeller, LLC with wiring information for First Bank and Trust East Texas. A wire verification of funds confirmed the transaction between Neumann Machinery and Old Yeller Equipment, LLC. The excavator, owned by Travelers Insurance Company, was reported stolen through Plaquemine’s Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. A warrant for the arrest of Thumann was issued on April 2, 2013 with a bond recommendation of $3,000.
In December 2013, Thumann was charged with felony Theft again, committed on or about Sept. 20, 2013. Soahail Shahzad, who buys and sells heavy machinery, found an online advertisement for a Caterpillar dozer being sold by Thumann. Shahzad went to Old Yeller Eqipment, LLC to look at the dozer, met with Thumann, and decided to purchase it for $36,000. Two days later, he paid for the dozer via wire transfer from his account to Thumann’s First Bank and Trust East Texas account. A little over two weeks later, Shahzad went to pick up the dozer and was met by Richard Owens, the dozer’s owner. Owens told him that Thumann did have authority to sell the dozer, but that it would not leave the property until he had received money for it. Thumann sent a check to Shahzad as repayment, saying he could deal with Owens directly. Shahzad was unable to deposit the check, however, because Thumann’s account had insufficient funds. A warrant was issued for Thumann’s arrest with a bond recommendation of $500,000.
Thumann was booked into the Montgomery County Jail in Conroe December 22, charged with Theft of Property, more than $20,000, but less than $100,000.
Thumann also went by several other names including Larry Ralph Thumann, Larry Ralph Thurmann, Larry Dwayne Thumann,