Police Searching for Cattle Rustlers

February 17, 2005 – Posted at 5:31 p.m. CST

INDEPENDENCE COUNTY -- Region 8 authorities are searching for a couple of cattle rustlers, and they need your help.

"We've had a lot of break-ups in this area and it always makes you nervous when something like that happens," said cattle farmer Deborah Boles, "People don't have respect for other people's property."

And the property missing in this case didn't just walk off.  Charlotte cattle farmer Lester Ballard had $15,000 dollars in calves stolen earlier this week.

"In the last couple of years, we've had a couple of cattle thefts and so they're becoming more common right now. Especially with cattle that don't have markings or are small," said investigator Lt. Brenda Bittle of the Independence County Sheriff's Office.

Police suspect the thieves are pretty familiar with the area. They were comfortable enough to gather more than 50 cattle and steal 28 calves. The missing calves are six to seven month old and weigh more than 500 pounds, not something easy to conceal.

"Those types of calves, the market really wants those. They are going for real high these days," said Boles. Police say at least two people were involved in the heist, but do not have any suspects or leads at this time.

Bittle admits it's going to be a tough case to solve, "It'll be pretty hard. Trying to search all the stockyards and sale barns where these are going to be sold probably is going to be nothing hard without someone calling in."

"It's a big crime and it should've been one that somebody witnessed. I mean at least someone saw something," said Boles.

Police are asking for help. If you have any information about the missing cattle, please contact the Independence County Sheriff's Office at 870-793-8838. A $5,000 dollar reward is being offered.