By Deborah Peterson
Urbanites who recognize meat only when it is wrapped in plastic on foam trays may have been surprised to read a short article in Wednesday’s Post-Dispatch about the arrest of a suspected cattle-rustler in Springfield, Mo.
It wasn’t the History Channel. Cattle-rustling is alive and well — thriving, in fact — in southwest Missouri.
The Associated Press article provided details of a day-long manhunt last week that resulted in the arrest of Howard Perryman, 67, who is charged with stealing farm equipment and livestock.
His arrest came as no surprise to locals.
“I can tell you from 1988 when I started out as a deputy sheriff in Greene County, Howard Perryman was a cattle-rustler then. He’s a cattle-rustler today,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott was quoted in the article.
Many in the area, including law enforcement authorities, say Mr. Perryman was not working alone, and they anticipate further arrests.
The state’s Livestock & Farm Protection Task Force, which was dormant for some years, was reactivated in 2009 as cattle thefts began to rise as the economy spiraled downward. The task force is credited with the work that led to Mr. Perryman’s arrest. More....