Cattle theft on the rise amid record high beef prices

Monday, August 17, 2015
By Paul Martin

by Michal Addady
Fortune.com
AUGUST 16, 2015

Ranchers are having a cow.

Cattle prices are now at a record high, which has led to a rise a livestock theft.

The crime, which is classified as a felony, is certainly not new. The Associated Press reports that the Texas State Penitentiary’s first inmate was a horse thief in 1849.

With beef valued so highly right now, thieves are trying to cash in cows. “Any time you see the price of any commodity go up, you see the theft of that commodity rise,” Larry Gray, executive director of law enforcement for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, told the AP.

Special rangers connected to the association worked 800 cattle theft cases in 2014, but almost 5,800 cattle were reported stolen at a value of more than $5.7 million.

The rangers use smartphones to take pictures of and identify suspected stolen cattle, but if the animal isn’t marked it cuts the chances of recovering it in half.

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