Cattle rustling increases in southwest Missouri

Friday, September 23, 2011 | 8:30 a.m. CDT; updated 12:14 p.m. CDT, Friday, September 23, 2011

CARTHAGE — Jasper County authorities are investigating the theft of 177 head of cattle from six farms in the last six weeks.

The Joplin Globe reported that several cattle thefts have also been reported in recent weeks in Barton, Lawrence and Dade counties.

Jasper County sheriff's detective Lt. Ron Thomas said farmers have to take precautions to keep their livestock safe. This includes reporting any suspicious people or vehicles.

He said thieves are hauling the cattle away in stock trailers. In some cases, thieves may be putting out feed to attract the cattle. He  said it's unclear if the same people are responsible for all the thefts.

Thomas said farmers believe an increase in beef prices is contributing to the cattle rustling.

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