SAINT JO, Texas – Police have charged a man with felony theft for allegedly stealing a pair of award-winning $10,000 cowboy boots from a North Texas custom shop.
Adrian Lex Parker, 30, was arrested Wednesday at the Saint Jo police department when he came in to give a statement. An employee of Trail Town Custom Leather identified Parker as the suspect who made off with the boots last month when the employee was distracted by a phone call.
Carl Chappell crafted the boots, which won an award at the 2003 Boot and Saddle Makers Trade Show Roundup in Wichita Falls. The hand-tooled leather tops feature scenes of busting broncos and a cattle drive. The boots have green full-quill ostrich bottoms, with additional hand-tooling on the heels and soles.
Parker, a resident of Sanger in Denton County, denied taking the boots, Saint Jo Police Chief Jonathan Lloyd said. Parker was being held in the Montague County Jail on Wednesday; a bond hearing was set for Thursday.
Police recovered the boots last week in Muenster. Chappell said they'd sustained about $1,500 worth of damage from being wadded up, torn and covered in metal shavings, apparently in some sort of metal shop.
Chappell said he'll try to clean up the boots, but a complete restoration would be "an exercise in futility."
Chappell and apprentice John Glaze pinned up $1,000 reward posters along U.S. Highway 82 and posted notices on custom cowboy boot Web sites to try to spur action in their search for the boots.
Police said they received hundreds of tips, including a couple that pointed police toward Parker.
"I'm just glad we got them back," Chappell said. "I could make another pair and probably do a better job. But this was my first pair with tooled tops. So they have some sentimental value."