Cattle Rustling Up 40% in Texas - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Cattle Rustling Up 40% in Texas

WEST, TX (KXXV) -

Cattle is a hot item for thieves and cattle rustling is on the rise around Central Texas.

It's not everyday you hear about a crime like cattle theft, but it's happening. Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association Ranger, Marvin Willis, is in charge of catching these thieves and tracking them down at facilities such as auction barns.

"The cattle are easier to pin and easier to get their hands on," said Willis. "These crooks have figured it out it's a cash crop."

Willis has around 35 cattle theft cases a year. 

"That doesn't sound like a lot, but it is and a lot of these go unreported," Willis said.

Between Texas and Oklahoma, these thefts have increased 40 percent since last year.

"Because of the economy for number one and number two we are in a drought," said Willis.

Ranch owner Robert Cervenka is aware of the recent news, and has the best advice to prevent it.

"Keep the cattle branded," Cervenka said. "Mine are branded 'RC' and they also have ear notches."

Cervenka had 400 cows at one point, and had to cut production in half because of the drought.

"Texas has eliminated their cattle herd and there's not much cattle in the state," Cervenka said. "There's a big demand for those calf where they used to be $400 dollars and now they are around $800 dollars."

Sometimes, the price can be higher. Cattle thieves will take the money they get and put it towards drugs.

"They can steal a cow worth $1,200 dollars and they'll get $1,200 dollars for the cow," Willis said. "Where if they steel a stereo they will get 25 cents."

The maximum punishment for cattle theft is up to 20 years in prison and is considered a third degree felony. Most of these cattle rustlers will get at least 15 years behind bars.

 

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