Cattle rustling on the rise?

In the films of Roy Rogers, John Wayne and Gene Autry, cattle rustling was often the crime at the heart of the picture.

As times changed, cattle ranching became more civilized, but rustling is still a big crime across the cattle belt.

"It's more than most people realize. I've got cattle missing in 3 different counties right now. 29 head from one herd, 9 from another and 6 from another...and that's a pretty good loss," according to H.L. Dempsey, a special ranger with the T e xas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Also more high tech, rustlers can show up with a big rig, take a full load and be over the state lines in a matter of hours, which makes them hard to catch.

"And some people may have a set of pens right on the road. I've worked cases where you can see they pulled off a paved road to a full set of pens right there and loaded 'em up."

Ranger Dempsey says neighbors keeping an eye out for each other can be a big help when it comes to catching rustlers and cutting down on the number of thefts.

"All we ask them to do is pay attention to what's going on. if you see a pickup-trailer that doesn't fit around there...try to get a tag or description and lust let us know."

He adds rustlers don't seem to care about the time of day when they make their play...but it's as clear as black and white to him that its still a big problem.

Previously Posted:

You may have thought that cattle rustling went out of style just about the last time John Wayne made a western, well pilgrim you would be wrong.

In fact, earlier this month, $200,000 worth of cattle was stolen from Arizona and transported to Texas for sale.

Depending on the value of the herd, livestock theft can be a first degree felony in Texas and there are still plenty of rustlers roaming the old west.

ProNews 7's Steve Myers spoke with officials regarding this crime, we'll look at the legalities of rustling, and if it TMs a problem in our area. Tune in tonight on ProNews 7 at 5,6, and 10.