By Dave Jordan, NEWS 9

ELMORE CITY, Oklahoma -- An Oklahoma man is looking for answers after discovering nearly two dozen calves stolen from his property. They disappeared from a pasture near Highway 29 in Elmore City late Friday night.

It's a big hit to the long time rancher. The rancher in question is still reeling from that sudden loss to his herd. Cattle totaling $14,000 worth was stolen overnight in an area not known for cattle thefts.

Steve (who wished to not use his last name) has been raising cattle in the Elmore City area for 25 years. When he showed up on Saturday to tend to his herd, he knew something was wrong.

"I knew they'd been stolen," said Steve. "I looked at all my gates and they were locked and I saw fresh trailer tracks backing up to the chute."

Steve had separated his calves because he was weaning them from their mothers. He put them in a separate pen, which he now admits was a mistake. All 23 of his calves were gone.

"You look, your pen's empty, or almost empty, it's just pretty bad," Steve said.

According to Garvin County Sheriff Steve Brooks, cattle thefts are pretty rare in that part of Oklahoma. But he has a theory as to why it happened.

"My opinion is that somebody who was pretty desperate or in dire need, they went out and they stole the cattle," Brooks said.

Steve did not brand his calves prior to their theft, but investigators say all is not lost.

"There are some identifying marks that we do have, but we're not going to release that to the public," Steve said.

Steve is planning on breeding new calves in the near future, but he's not giving up hope that the stolen 23 will be recovered.

"I'd just like to find my cattle," said Steve. "I just don't want somebody to steal my animals and get away with it."

Cattle ranching is Steve's only source of income. The Cattlemen's Association is also assisting the sheriff's department with this case. They're investigators are checking leads as far as north Texas.