By Shawn Paul
Cattle rustling may sound like a crime of a bygone era.
But livestock theft is not just the stuff of Texas history books or Western movies. In fact, some officials say, it is a growing problem.
“With the economy like it is, it’s a possibility that cattle rustling could become a problem,” said Tim Gallaway, who has independently raised cattle in Coryell County since 1974.
Gallaway said he has not yet been a victim of cattle theft, but “with cattle prices as high as they are, it’s really a wonder we ain’t had more of that.”
According to a recent National Public Radio report, ranchers saw a sharp jump in cattle rustling last year in Texas and Oklahoma. More than 10,000 cows and horses were reported missing or stolen — an increase of nearly 40 percent from the year before.
Officials said cattle rustling is not a serious threat in Central Texas, but it’s not unheard of either.
Special Ranger Marvin Wills of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association recently cited a case from 2012 in which a man was found guilty of rustling cattle in Burnet and selling them in Lampasas County. On Friday, he was sentenced to 10 years of probation and ordered to pay nearly $60,000 in restitution. More....