Cattle Rustling On The Rise In Oklahoma
SPENCER, Oklahoma - State investigators have seen an increase in the number of cattle thefts in 2014.
Drugs were a major contributor to the crimes, according to estimates by the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture.
Chief Agent Jerry Flowers said 80% of the cases they work are drug-related.
He said it is especially true in B.J. Holloway's case.
Holloway had six head of cattle stolen from his ranch near N.E. 63rd Street and Post Road in Spencer.
"It's an empty feeling, it's just empty," said Holloway.
He said he has been raising cattle since he was a boy and has become pretty attached to them over the years.
"They're just like pets," he explained.
When Holloway reported the theft to the Department of Agriculture, he discovered that he was not the only victim of cattle rustling this year.
In fact, Chief Flowers said the state has looked into reports of 1,500 cattle stolen in 2014. He said cattle rustling and tractor and trailer thefts have resulted in a $4 million loss to the industry.
"You know there is a lot of motivation for stealing cattle, it's about money, making fast money whether to buy narcotics or pay bills with," said Flowers.
He warned that many times these rustlers will get caught and the reason for the theft has surprised many.
"We find that these guys...try to make the fastest money they can to get their next fix of dope," Flowers said. Methamphetamine and other drugs are a major contributor to the rise in thefts, he added.
That turned out to be true in Holloway's case, Flowers explained, when they caught up to Conilius Demar Wright, 23, and Tyvenski Kewaun Long, 24, both admitted to investigators that they stole Holloway's cattle to buy marijuana.
Wright and Long confessed they used feed to lure the animals away from the ranch and then sold them at local auctions for a large payout.
Authorities said they both face charges in Canadian County for larceny and conspiracy. The penalty for stealing livestock is up to 10 years in prison.
“I have no good thing to say about 'em,” Holloway said, relieved the two were arrested.
He said he is now going through the proper channels to get reimbursed for the stolen cattle. Still, he admitted he cares more about getting his cattle back, than any amount of money.
“If I could get the cows back, that would make me happy,” said Holloway.