Cattle theft has been a life- long problem for the beef industry, but the profiles of today’s cattle rustlers have expanded to include some people you’d probably not put at the top of your suspect list.
“We’ve seen increase in people stealing cattle that haven’t been the type of person we’ve arrested before, meaning a lot of times in the past, most cattle were stolen by people that were cowboys, had some cowboy in them, knew something about cattle. We’re getting people now that are your crack heads, whatever, drug addicts in town, don’t know a whole lot about a cow.”
Hal Dumas is a special ranger for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, and says some would be home burglars turn to stealing cattle because it’s more profitable.
“They may get pennies on the dollar for whatever item they’re selling, whereas when they steal cattle, they go to a sale barn with it, and they get the same price that everyone gets for it, you know they get the market value for that animal.”
“That’s made it a little more attractive, I’d guess you’d say, to some of these criminals in town we’re running into now out in the country.”
Fraud cases involving cattle have increased as the economy has weakened.
“People getting short for some reason, and selling cattle that may be mortgaged, or buying, selling, trading cattle, and not paying for those cattle, working a lot more fraud cases, a lot more multi-million dollar deals than we’ve had in the past.”
Dumas says a crime scene usually tells a story.
“You can usually tell when you get to a scene, if it was somebody that really knew cattle, or somebody that we’ve talked about that’s come from town and decided this is what they want to try to steal. A lot of times they’ll get a pen full of cattle and end up just getting one or two loaded, you know, we’ve had them where they got a pen full of cattle and end up getting run over and hurt, you know, because they can hurt you, and that’s one of the best deterrents, I guess we’ve got with the city folks, that try to steal and don’t know anything about it.
I’m Bob French, looking at Brazos valley agriculture, From The Ground Up.