U.S. Attorney's Office
Western District of Tennessee
(901) 544-4231
September 18, 2014

Memphis Truck Driver Sentenced for Stealing Cargo in West Plains

SPRINGFIELD, MO—Tammy Dickinson, United States Attorney for the Western District of Missouri, announced that a Memphis, Tenn., truck driver was sentenced in federal court today for his role in a cargo theft scheme that included a theft in West Plains, Mo.

Michael Lee Sherley, 49, of Memphis, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Gary A. Fenner to four years and six months in federal prison without parole. The sentence includes a 33-month term for his conviction for theft of an interstate shipment, plus a 21-month term for the revocation of his supervised release in a prior unrelated federal conviction in the Western District of Tennessee.

Sherley, who pleaded guilty on March 19, 2014, was employed by Nu World Trucking, LLC, a Memphis company in the business of transporting goods in interstate commerce, from July 2012 until his arrest on May 12, 2013. Sherley’s uncle and co-defendant Earl Stanley Nunn, 59, also of Memphis, was the owner of Nu World Trucking.

Nunn and Sherley were part of a cargo theft ring that used the resources of Nu World Trucking to steal cargo in various states. They did so by “bob-tailing” (meaning they traveled in a road tractor truck, without a semi-trailer attached) through truck stops and service stations located on or near interstate highways, looking for semi-trailers that had been left parked and unattended, and were not coupled to road tractors. When they located a semi-trailer that appeared to be unattended, they would steal the semi-trailer and the goods it contained by coupling their road tractor truck to it and driving off. After having stolen a semi-trailer and its contents, they usually transported the stolen goods to the Chicago, Ill., and Detroit, Mich., areas to be “fenced” or sold.

Nunn, the leader of the conspiracy, pleaded guilty on July 14, 2014, and awaits sentencing.

The government believes that co-conspirators committed thefts in various states, including Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Conspirators also included Nunn’s son, Roderick Nunn (who pleaded guilty in a related case in the Western District of Michigan), and others.

The specific charge to which both Nunn and Sherley pleaded guilty involves a theft that occurred on May 11, 2013, at the Snappy Mart Truck Stop in West Plains. Nunn and Sherley 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 the Arkansas Food Bank in Little Rock, Ark. Nunn and Sherley admitted that they traveled through Missouri and Indiana with the stolen cargo before being apprehended in Michigan.

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, Mo., Police Department and the Michigan State Highway Patrol.

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