Oklahoma Cattle Thefts on the Rise
By Jacqueline Sit, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry reported there has been an increase of cattle theft since March.
"It's a crime of opportunity, its fast money and there's been a rise for several reasons," said Special Agent with the Department of Agriculture, Captain Jerry Flowers. "One is the economy and the other is the high prices per cattle, each could value from $800 to $1,000 per head."
Flowers said there have been 321 cattle theft cases reported in the last nine weeks, most of them happening in northwest Oklahoma.
"There was an incident two months ago when 11 of my cattle were stolen," said Bill Barnhart, owner of OKC West Livestock.
But Barnhart said they have a security system that he believes has deterred a number of thieves at his ranch.
"We have a video surveillance system that helps us count how many livestock are unloaded and that's been very helpful," Barnhart said.
Barnhart's video surveillance caught the man who stole his cattle two months ago from his livestock market.
"We just nailed him. He was there, showing him unloading the cattle," Barnhart said.
That man was arrested, but Flowers said investigators still have a long road ahead of them.
Authorities said stealing one animal could land a person in jail for up to 10 years in state penitentiary.
Anyone with information regarding livestock theft is urged to call the State Agriculture Department Office at 405-522-6102.
The Oklahoma Cattleman Association is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to an arrest.