- This picture of a person in a cow suit is the best I could do. Sorry, Internet. (Photo: TBD Staff)
As it turns out, cattle rustling might be alive and well in Virginia, where 16 cows went missing from a Bedford County stockyard. The cows — beef cows, milk cows, and a calf — went missing over the weekend, reports the Washington Post.
Authorities are investigating. TBD has left a message with a deputy in Bedford County and will update this post if we hear back.
If the cows were stolen, though, it wouldn't exactly be that outrageous. Cattle rustling (or as I like to call it, cattle rustlin') apparently survived the Wild West era and became one of those Great Recession crimes you hear about these days, like stealing urns for copper.
A 2009 New York Times story found dozens of cows had been reported stolen in Missouri. Two hundred cows were stolen from an auction market in South Dakota, and cattle theft was also reportedly on the rise in Wyoming.
“It’s a big spike,” Greene County Sheriff Jim Arnott told the Times. “Usually we’ll go a year or two with no thefts, but it’s really picked up. In these economic times people are taking desperate measures, whether it’s stealing, or whether they’re trying to come up with money through insurance fraud.”
More examples of cattle crime are after the jump.
CATTLE RUSTLING TOTALLY MAKING A COMEBACK, SAYS L.A. TIMES ARTICLE
Rick Wahlert, of the International Livestock Identification Association, told the Times in 2009 that though no national stats can back a claim of an uptick in the crime, some of the member states of his organization were seeing an increase.
"They're half cowboys, so they know how to talk the talk and walk the walk and all that stuff. And they know how to work cattle and load 'em up," investigator Troy McKinney told the Times. "But a true cowboy wouldn't steal."
FROM 2007 TO 2008, CATTLE THEFTS INCREASED IN CATTLE-FRIENDLY STATE OF TEXAS
"When people think cattle rustling they think John Wayne," Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association spokeswoman Carmen Fenton told Reuters. "But it's not like that. Cattle thieves are sophisticated and technologically savvy. They know the law and the penal law. They have a truck and a trailer. They take the cattle to the market and sell them for market value that day."
GUY IN COWBOY HAT SAYS CATTLE RUSTLERS ARE ALSO STEALING CATTLE-RELATED GOODS
"They just don't steal cattle," investigator John Suther, who was described in a 2007 San Francisco Chronicle story as wearing a "a custom-made white cowboy hat from Greeley Hat Works in Colorado." "They steal feed, medicine. I've seen them build their corrals out of railroad ties they steal from the railroad company. It's all pure profit."