Monday, November 21, 2016

Ranchers say thieves stealing wood fences to satisfy home decorators

VANCOUVER — A home decor trend appears to be fuelling a series of “highway robberies” in the B.C. Interior. The B.C. Cattlemen’s Association has had six reports of stolen fencing this fall, general manager Kevin Boon said. It is believed the weathered wood is being sold to Vancouver-area homeowners eager to add a “rustic touch” to their living spaces. Although wood rustling sounds like the plot of a particularly bad Western novel, the theft of $50,000 worth of fencing could create a dangerous situation as cattle return home from the range this fall. The wood has been stolen from the sides of highway underpasses that allow cows to cross beneath the Coquihalla, explained Boon. “Imagine 200 head of cattle trying to funnel through (when) they find a break in the fence. They could end up on the highway.” The speed limit on the Coquihalla Highway south of Merritt is 120 km/h and cows returning from the range typically weigh more than 500 kilograms. In late August, Merritt RCMP caught three thieves dismantling a cattle corral belonging to the Coquihalla Cattle Company. Ranch owner Lou Cooke said he drove past his corral one night and returned the next morning to find it destroyed. Police arrested three Surrey men when they returned to load a pile of sawn boards into a rented truck the next day. They had already sold some of the wood to a Lower Mainland lumber company...more

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