Thieves steal from Camp Fire kids riding unit

Monday, December 20th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

COYLE, Okla. (AP) -- Kids are the real losers in the theft of three horses and thousands of dollars in saddles and other tack missing from the Camp Fire Boys and Girls riding unit at Camp Cimarron just north of Coyle, the leader of the group said. And what hurts even more are the three missing horses, valued at nearly $10,000 and the tack at about $5,000, said Jennifer Tucker of Stillwater, riding director.

"We're hoping the horses that are gone just got out," she said Sunday. "We have high hopes that they're still in the area." Searches were being conducted Sunday in the area, which is along the Cimarron River about 15 miles east of Guthrie. Gates were left open and all the camp's 21 horses were allowed to roam free. All but the three missing were recovered Saturday. "All the horses were jeopardized because the feed room was left open and some of them ate grain all night," she said. "Two of them have mild cases of colic." "One of the horses, Pass-em, a 20-year-old Quarter Horse mare, was donated and is valued at $4,500 -- one of the group's most valuable, she said.

The other two, Punky, a 15-year-old Arabian mare, and Savannah, a 15-year-old Quarter Horse gelding, were valued at $2,500 each. The theft occurred while 10 adults and 38 kids, ranging from fifth graders to high school seniors, were on their annual Christmas overnight at a camp lodge less than a mile away. "It takes a real low person to steal from a Camp Fire organization," said Mrs. Tucker. "These are kids who don't have the opportunity to purchase horses and saddles of their own. Whoever did this stole from these kids."

Also taken were five saddles, valued at from $800 to $1,200each; 12 bridles, 15 halters and leads and nine saddle pads. The riding group, called CC Riders, works with the horses on weekends and also during camp each summer. Thieves hiked about a half mile to the barn area and used bolt cutters to snip two locks. They hauled the tack out using wheelbarrows.

The camp also was hit in November 1998 when seven saddles were stolen. Insurance money replaced only two of them, she said. Mrs. Tucker was unsure how much in the latest theft was insured. Although the building was considered secure and a camp ranger lives on the grounds, Mrs. Tucker said "we may have to take some of the money that had been set aside for tack and use it for a security system." The Payne County sheriff's office was investigating.