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Cattle rustled from Moneta stockyard

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Sixteen taken early Sunday morning

By Tom Wilmoth

    Cattle worth close to $11,000 were stolen from the Springlake Stockyard this weekend, according to authorities.

    The Bedford County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the larceny of the 16 cows from the stockyard located at 1069 Sickle Court in Moneta. The sheriff’s office received the larceny report at 6:15 a.m. Sunday after an employee found the animals missing.
    Included among the stolen cows were eight Black Angus, and seven Holsteins, four of which were steers; one was a newborn calf. At this time, the suspect vehicle is believed to be a dark-colored dual wheeled pick-up truck.
    “We’re in the process of running down leads and checking all the livestock markets in the state,” stated Major Ricky Gardner of the BCSO. Investigators are also checking with process plants around the area.
    “I don’t remember us ever having that many cows stolen at one time,” he stated of the theft.
    The theft took place following the Saturday sale. Gardner said some of the cows that had been purchased were going to be picked up on Sunday or transported to the slaughterhouse.
    One of the Holstein steers  weighed 920 pounds, and three others weighed 640 each.
    “There was a lot of weight there,” Gardner said, noting that the truck had been backed up to the gate for the cattle to be loaded onto. The cattle had been marked for identification.
    An employee at Springlake witnessed two men loading the cattle Sunday morning into the truck, the stockyard’s general manager Brandy Walker said. Walker said the employee went to investigate and spotted two white men, with their backs turned, closing the gates on the cattle carrier.
    “He came around the front of the building,” Walker stated, adding the employee heard a truck running. “He knew there shouldn’t be anybody out there.”
    Walker said the employee saw the two men at the other end of the building, pushing cattle up onto the truck. Walker said the employee saw that these weren’t the normal people who might have been loading or dropping off cattle.
    Walker said the truck was 20 feet long with a dark cab and aluminum body.
    The employee tried to get the license plate number off of the truck, but they were moving too fast as they left, Walker said.
    The employee went back to the barn to secure the gates because other cattle were in there.
    “We’ve never had anything taken (before), to my knowledge,” said Walker, who has worked at the stockyard since 1994. She added, however, that surrounding areas have had issues.
    Walker said a packing house she talked with on Monday said somebody had taken a tractor trailer full of cattle.
    “It’s nothing on the norm that happens around here, but it is happening,” she said. “They’re getting bolder about what they’re doing. Eventually, I think we’ll catch them.”
    Walker said more security is being added at the Springlake Stockyard.
    “We will be glad to offer a reward for any information that leads to the arrest of these criminals,” she added.
    Gardner also said there is a reward through Crime Stoppers.  Crime Stopper calls remain anonymous with a reward of up to $1,000 offered.
    Anyone with information on this case can call the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office at 586-7827 or the Central Virginia Crime Stopper at 1-888-798-5900.