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October 01, 2008   Email to Friend 

Debra Davis
(334) 613-4686
October 01, 2008

Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks held a press conference to announce an increase in cattle thefts in the state along with the arrest of two suspects in Macon County who are charged with a string of recent break-ins there. From left are Alabama Cattlemen's Executive Vice President Billy Powell, Commissioner Sparks, Agriculture Department Chief Investigator Bob Holley and 5th Circuit District Attorney E. Paul Jones.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Nearly 200 head of cattle have been stolen in Alabama in the past nine months, more than half of them in the past two weeks from stockyards.

Agriculture Commissioner Ron Sparks, investigators from his department and other state law enforcement officials held a joint press conference Wednesday to alert cattlemen of the thefts.

A $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the thefts is offered by the Alabama Cattlemen's Association. Anyone with information about the thefts should contact local law enforcement officers. The stolen cattle have mainly been heifers and steers that weighed about 500 pounds, according to investigators.

Sparks said the most recent thefts occurred at stockyards in Clay and Randolph counties where the thieves simply loaded calves onto trailers and drove away. One cattleman in Clay County recovered some of his stock, which was abandoned in a trailer, also stolen from his farm, when several tires went flat.

Cattle also have been stolen in Franklin, Perry, Montgomery, Lauderdale, Hale, Lowndes, Mobile, St. Clair, DeKalb and Cherokee counties in the past nine months.

"Farmers need to be aware this is happening and should avoid penning cattle in a location that's easy for thieves to get to," Sparks said. The investigation is continuing, he said.

During the conference Sparks also announced the arrests of two suspects in a string of break-ins that occurred in south Macon County where numerous farm vehicles, ATVs and personal property was taken.

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