STAFFORD COUNTY, Kansas — Authorities in central Kansas are working with Oklahoma law enforcement in a cattle rustling case that they say was part of a bigger theft ring. Ranchers are worried about the possibility of the crime occurring again.
23 head of cattle were stolen from Stafford County and more than two dozen more were taken from other ranches.
Authorities have arrested Bryan Case, the suspect accused of the crimes.
“So this is quite a theft ring that we’ve unveiled and are currently investigating. We’ve also identified right now around 50 head of cattle that we believe he’s going to have been responsible for stealing from Stafford County as well as Anthony, Kansas from a livestock market there,” said Jerry Flowers, Chief Agent Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Investigative Services Unit.
Cattle thefts have become more common in recent years with the price of cattle going up and that has ranchers worried.
“You always worry about it a little bit because you know you check your cows everyday but someone could come in the night before and they could be gone if they know what they’re doing, so it’s something everyone worries about a little bit,” said David LeRoy, a rancher and farmer.
Some of the things that ranchers do to keep their cows from being stolen are to brand their skin or freeze brand them which changes the color of their hair.
Ranchers are more worried during calving season which is currently taking place because it is much easier for calves that are smaller and unbranded to be stolen.
“I know a few people that think that’s happened to a few of their cattle, just come by and see them laying along the edge of their field, just pick them up. If they’re sleeping it’s easy for them to come up and grab them, so it is a worry,” said LeRoy.