Stolen Horse Ring Turns Into Multi-State Investigation

Friday, August 22nd 2014, 7:20 pm
By: News 9

A stolen horse investigation in Lincoln County is much larger than the sheriff's office first thought.

A Meeker family reported 10 of their horses stolen from their farm in Sparks around August 12, and now one of those horses has been recovered.

Sheriff Charlie Dougherty confirmed to News 9 that arrest warrants have been issued, but he is not releasing any details yet.

Timmi and James Baker returned home to Meeker early Friday morning with Fudge, the 1,200-pound horse.

The search continues for the other nine horses still missing.

“Shock, excitement and disappointment because I want the other nine,” Timmi Baker said.

The family said the horses are almost like therapy animals for them and their friends.

8/12/2014 Related Story: Authorities Investigate Horse Theft Near Sparks

“I could see his back, oh I don't know, 50 yards away," recalled James Baker. "I could see him through the stall, and I knew it was him when I saw him.”

Investigators called the Bakers on Thursday to say they located Fudge in Oklahoma about four hours away, but they cannot reveal the location just yet.

“All the way there, I kept telling myself, ‘No, no,' because I've already went several times to look and been disappointed, then I just hugged him and cried,” Timmi Baker told News 9.

After confirming Fudge's identity through photos, his branding and specific markings, the Bakers were allowed to take him back.

They feel terrible for the woman who had bought him and said she is a victim too.

“I don't want anyone to think she stole him," explained Timmi Baker. "She had bought him, and she released him to us willingly.”

The Bakers said if Fudge was sold, maybe the others were too, and the new owners do not know they bought stolen horses.

The family is bracing for the possibility that Fudge may be the only horse they get back.

“All I can do is pray to God that they are in good homes, and someone loves them like we love them,” Timmi Baker added.

The Lincoln County Sheriff says this theft ring was organized and involved stolen cattle as well.

They are working with authorities in Colorado and Texas on this investigation but are not releasing any suspects' names yet.

If you can help find any of the other nine horses that are still missing, call the Lincoln County Sheriff's Office at 405-258-1191.

The Baker family has set up a Go Fund Me account to help recoup some of the costs associated with their search for the stolen horses.