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Livestock thieves steal $21K worth of cattle


FRANKLIN, Ind. (WISH) – It’s an utter shame what happened to Rick Teverbaugh.

“It makes you feel violated,” he said. The livestock salesman said he was prepping for another busy Tuesday, which is when auctions are held at the Johnson County Sales Pavilion. “We sell horses, hogs, sheep, goats, cattle,” he said.

Monday, Teverbaugh said he bought 20 cattle with intentions to sell them the next day. He said he locked them in their pen, just like he has for the past 16 years. When his staff showed up Tuesday morning, the cattle were missing.

“The first thought was that they had to be here. Somebody wasn’t looking in the right place,” he said. “And then when they told me the lock (on the pen) had been cut off and it was gone, well then two and two added up to somebody stole the cattle.”

Moving 20 animals weighing hundreds of pounds might sound tough, but Teverbaugh feels the thief must know a thing or two about handling livestock.

“You’d have to have a pretty good size trailer to fit 20 head of cattle on,” he said. “This is somebody that definitely knew what was going on here. This is not somebody that just drove by here and decided they’d swing back behind the barn and see if there were any cattle here.”

Teverbaugh valued the cows at $21,000 and doubts they will ever be found.

“I would say the cattle have already been split into two or three groups and sold at other livestock markets by now,” he said. “Very aggravating, very discouraging. You just can’t believe it happened to you I guess is the best way to put it.”

Teverbaugh said from now on he might move his cattle to his farm to keep them protected until sale day. He’s also considering getting surveillance cameras for the sale barn.

Teverbaugh said this is the first time he’s had livestock stolen, but not the first time someone tried to sell him stolen livestock.

He said he checks websites related to his trade where other salesman put out information about animal theft. He said one time someone showed up with cattle that matched the description of animals that were stolen.

The cattle he bought Monday didn’t have any specific branding or tattoos but he still put the information about his theft online with hopes the suspect will be caught trying to make a sale.

“It’s not something you hear a lot of in this part of the country. You get into the bigger sales in the west where they sell thousands of (cattle) head every day, it’s more apt to happen where here it’s not,” he said.

Investigators said cattle theft happens occasionally in the county, but they couldn’t recall a case as large as Teverbaugh’s.

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