By Stephen Herzog
A Monett man with more than 30 felony convictions was charged last week with stealing more than $100,000 worth of cattle and equipment in southwest Missouri, but law enforcement officials say his arrest is likely just the tip of the iceberg.
Howard Lee Perryman, 67, was arrested Thursday after a nearly daylong manhunt in Greene County that involved eight local law enforcement agencies.
“From 1988, when I started as a deputy sheriff in Greene County, Howard Perryman was a cattle rustler then, and he’s a cattle rustler today,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott said. “What we need to do is try to expedite our system a little more and get him away to prison where he belongs.”
In May 2012, authorities found a used paper towel on the ground near tire tracks at the scene of a cattle theft, according to a probable cause statement. That paper towel was analyzed and matched to DNA in four other cases.
In March, that DNA was matched to Perryman, according to the statement.
In June, a tracker was placed on a truck Perryman was driving. That tracker led officers to Perryman again on July 8.
Officials recovered stolen equipment from Greene, Christian, Webster, Jasper, Dade and Lawrence counties in connection with the Perryman arrest, according to Sgt. Jason Pace with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
But when it comes to cattle, it’s incredibly difficult to determine where they’ve been taken, Arnott said.
“The cattle market is very difficult, especially when we cross state lines, where we can track everything,” he said. “In the past, we’ve tracked stolen cattle all the way to Mississippi.” More....