PITTSBURG COUNTY, Oklahoma - A suspected cattle rustler is behind bars following a late night sting this week southeast of McAlester.

The victims say they knew Leroy Robbins and had even tried to help him out.  

State Department of Agriculture investigators say they're normally called in after cattle are stolen, but this was a unique case where they were able to set up an undercover operation and catch the criminal red-handed.

Investigators say Robbins was trying to sell cattle that belonged to a rancher near Hartshorne.

They say they got a tip Robbins told a potential buyer he'd only meet after midnight to sell the cattle.  That is when Robbins was arrested for trying to sell three head of cattle and some horses.

The real owners of the cattle say they've had cattle stolen in the past and one cow shot earlier this year.

"It's just a bad situation that we have that people want to steal your cattle. You take a full grown cow or a cow and a calf, ya know, you're looking at $1,200 to $1,500, said Earlene Cook.

"They don't have to steal many until they've stole all your profit," said rancher John Cook.

John Cook say he knows Robbins and had hired him to do some work around his home.  

Robbins has been charged with three counts of larceny of domestic animals.  If convicted, Leroy Robbins could face up to 30 years behind bars.