March 6, 2008

Sheriff Warns of Increased Threat of Cattle, Hay Thefts

The techniques have changed over the years, but the crime is just as damaging to local livestock owners. Cattle rustlers no longer travel on horseback or worry about changing an animal’s brand.

That doesn’t mean that today’s Scotland County Sheriff’s Department isn’t still concerned about the offense as the office tries to remind area livestock owners of the increased risk of cattle theft

Sheriff Wayne Winn reported last week that his office has received a report of suspicious activity related directly to the intent to steal cattle. He urged residents to report suspicious activity immediately so that a deputy can be dispatched to the area to begin the investigation.

“With the help of concerned, watchful citizens we can attempt to curve any illegal activity related to cattle theft from occurring,” Winn said.

Activity to watch for includes trucks with cattle trailers unfamiliar to the area, trucks and trailers traveling after dark with no lights, individuals loading cattle early or late, or multiple units loading large numbers of animals at one time.

“Although not all of this type of activity is illegal, it is suspicious enough to contact us so that we can investigate,” said Winn.

Cattle are not the only targets of prospective thieves. The increased price of hay has led to an increase in larceny of the livestock feed. The sheriff’s office warned landowners to keep an eye on their stored hay and not to hesitate reporting any missing property.

“It is the intent of the sheriff’s office to stop illegal activity before it happens,” Winn said. “So with the help of you the citizens, we can take action and investigate suspicious activity in your neighborhood.”

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