ANTHONY, Kan. -- The Harper County Sheriff's Office is concerned about a recent comeback of an old crime that can cost cattle producers thousands of dollars.
Two cases of cattle rustling were reported in Harper County this week. Another was reported in neighboring Barber County, Tom Burns, Harper County Undersheriff, said.
Twenty-nine cattle were stolen from pens at Anthony Livestock Sales last weekend. The cattle were to be auctioned, but sometime around 11 p.m. Sunday, someone backed a stock trailer up between two loading chutes, loaded 29 calves worth more than $900 each and headed to Oklahoma.
"It's just a matter of time before we track these calves down," said Jay Gates, owner of Anthony Livestock Sales.
Gates said it will be hard for whoever stole the cattle -- which were supposed to be auctioned Tuesday -- to sell them anywhere. All of them carried brand with a number three next to a V with a line underneath on their left hips. Each calf also had identifying ear crops and ear tags.
"Fifteen minutes after we realized they were missing Monday morning, we sent out word to all the auctions in a five- or six-state region letting them know what we were missing," Gates said.
Law enforcement officers across the region are looking for the cattle, too.
"Right now, we're working with the Oklahoma brand inspectors and with the Texas Rangers trying to run these cattle down," Burns said.
The cattle taken from Anthony Livestock Sales were worth between $25,000 and $30,000. For now, Gates is out that money.
"I am insured, but I write the check just as if the cattle sold here to instill confidence in the people," he said. "They trust us to sell their cattle and we do the best we can."
Harper County Sheriff's Deputies are also investigating the theft of nine cattle from a pasture. That theft was reported Friday.
Burns, the undersheriff, urges all rural residents to report any people or any vehicles that look out-of-place.
"A lot of times what you run into is they don't want to bother the police," he said. "Well, that's what we're here for. So bother us as much as you can because you know what's normal in your part of the country."
Anybody with information about the recent cattle thefts is asked to call the Harper County Sheriff's Office at 620-842-5135.