Someone stole about $20,000 worth of cattle in Adair County. Investigators are asking for the public's help to find the animals and the criminals.
Just hours before the weekly auction in Stilwell, investigators say someone broke in and stole 24 calves. Owner of Stilwell Livestock Auction Alan Starr is left wondering who would steal from him.
"Don't want to suspect the people that work for you and are closest to you, but more than likely it's somebody that we know and has been around from time to time," Starr said.
Special Rangers with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association gave video evidence to the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and said there's more than one thief.
The cattle were staying overnight ahead of the auction on June 6th. Special Ranger Bart Perrier said they were stolen around 2:00 a.m.
"The cattle could have been resold by now, and possibly have," Perrier said. "They end up cutting a lock on the inside of the sale and loaded cattle out. They were only on the scene a few minutes."
Starr said he paid the owners at market value so they wouldn't lose money from trying to sell at the auction.
Now he's hoping insurance can help him.
"As of right now, $20,000 out of my pocket, making it right with the ranchers that entrusted me with their cattle," Starr said.
The 24 stolen calves range in weight from 500-700 pounds and are not branded.
There is a $1,000 reward for anyone with information leading to an arrest and the recovery of the animals.
If you know anything, call the Operation Cow Thief Hotline at (888) 830-2333. You can remain anonymous.