FORT WORTH, Texas - - Authorities say there was a dramatic increase last year in stolen livestock and ranch equipment but that more than $4.4 million of the property was recovered.
The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association says more than 10,400 head of cattle and horses were reported stolen or missing last year, a jump from 7,600 in 2011.
Special rangers for the association investigated 980 cases in Texas and Oklahoma last year. The group says thieves paid more than $3.8 million in restitution, fines and court costs. Convictions also resulted in incarceration, probation and suspended sentences. The 30 special rangers are commissioned law enforcement officers but are privately funded.
They're assisted by inspectors who collect brands and other identifying marks on upward of 5 million cattle sold at livestock markets each year.