Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Cattle Rustling Plagues Ranchers

Crashing through a gate in the dead of night, thieves using trucks and trailers recently robbed a farmer here of 53 Brahman crossbreed cows valued at some $50,000. “Those were full-grown cows,” Sheriff Joey Kyle of Christian County said. “Around 1,100 pounds apiece. That’s 53,000 pounds of beef on the hoof. Your normal stock trailer will handle a dozen to 15 cows, so do the math.” It was the first cattle theft in the county in more than two years and the largest state officials could recall. It came amid a surge of such thefts here in southwestern Missouri. In January, rustlers hauled away 41 cows in nearby Lawrence County. Investigators in Barry County report 30 head stolen in the last six months. In Greene County, Sheriff Jim Arnott said rustlers had struck 10 times since October, stealing a total of 93 cows. “It’s a big spike,” Sheriff Arnott said. “Usually we’ll go a year or two with no thefts, but it’s really picked up. In these economic times people are taking desperate measures, whether it’s stealing, or whether they’re trying to come up with money through insurance fraud.” Earlier this month, rustlers in Watertown, S.D., used tractor-trailers to steal nearly 200 cows from an auction market. State officials in Wyoming report that thieves stole 225 head of cattle in 2008, up from 90 in 2006. In Montana, where 60 cattle were recently reported missing in a series of thefts, officials described an increase in rustling since the summer, and the International Livestock Identification Association reported swelling numbers of missing-animal claims this year among its 20 member states. Equally alarming, investigators say, is a spike in cattle-related fraud. Out-of-state buyers build a relationship with an auction market, only to disappear with livestock they used in-house credit to buy but never paid for. Investigators also say that people are now falsely claiming ownership of cattle as collateral for loans. “It’s across the board,” Lee Romsa, state brand commissioner for the Wyoming Livestock Board, said. “We’re not just seeing more thefts, we’re seeing more large thefts.”...NY Times

1 comment:

Charles said...

I just wanted to post a personal face to who is getting hit with these theft problems. Perhaps readers will get a better idea of the seriousness of this problem: