This is something you don’t read about everyday. Maybe 100 years ago or so, but in 2009? Seems Texas (and many other states) has a cattle rustling problem. Not that rustling has ever really gone away, but lately it’s been on the rise.
The vaunted Texas Rangers have a cattle theft division, manned by 29 officers. And don’t overlook the power of the Cattle Raisers Association. Still, cattle go missing on almost a daily basis.
In 2008, 6400 head of Texas cattle disappeared, three times that of 2007. And when a fattened steer can rake in 500 to several thousand dollars a head, the money motivation is very real. Also, many ranchers are “gentlemen ranchers.” They live in the city but own and manage ranches out in rural Texas. They don’t always keep tabs on the head count so cattle can slide off the radar and never be seen again.
Case in point: Supreme Farms in Denton, just north of Dallas/Fort Worth, lost track of 122 head of Black Angus worth over $100,000. Enter the Texas Rangers. Most modern rustlers simply sneak on to a ranch, load up some cattle, and drive away. That’s more or less what 34-year-old Marty Kays did. The son of a ranch hand on the Supreme Farm spread, Marty actually used one of Supreme Farm’s pickups and livestock trailers to abscond with the cattle.
Ranger Troy McKinney went to work. Using the state’s registry of 100,000 brands, he found that cattle bearing the Supreme Farm brand were being sold at cattle sale barns by Kays. When confronted with the evidence, Kays confessed, saying that he needed the money to feed his drug habit.
Old crime meets new crime. And it’s not just in Texas, with cases reported in Missouri, Oklahoma, California, Alabama, and the list goes on.
Where’s Randolph Scott when you need him?
LA Times article
NY Times article