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Authorities investigate stolen cattle in Trinidad area

LAS ANIMAS COUNTY, Colo. (KRDO) -- The Sheriff's Office here has confirmed that at least a dozen cattle have been stolen from ranchers in the past three weeks.

Many of the thefts have centered around the town of Hoehne , around 10 miles northeast of Trinidad.

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According to the Sheriff's Office, the thief or thieves are cutting through fences or locked gates and driving trailers onto ranchers' properties to take the cattle.

Sheriff Derek Navarette said that he has a deputy investigating the case and that it's unclear if the animals are being stolen at night, and if the same person or persons are involved.

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Sherry Jacobs, who lost a cow and her calf, said that she believes someone in the area may be taking the cattle.

"Because the owners are elderly people or have remote pastures," she said. "I hate to say it, but only someone local would know that; know the best times and places to steal without being seen. Some of the cattle is right along the road, so it's not hard to steal them."

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She said that her stolen cattle is valued at $2,000 and insurance doesn't cover her loss.

"I know that times are hard," she said. "Maybe (the thief) can't afford to feed them, or needs the meat or the money. But cattle were stolen even though this is an area full of ranchers, and no one saw or heard anything."

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Navarette said that some victims didn't officially report their cattle as missing, so the number of thefts may be higher.

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"This is a big county and I'm short two deputies," he said. "This kind of theft isn't unusual, but we're taking it seriously."

A community meeting is scheduled about the situation Friday evening at the county fairgrounds; the Sheriff's Office is trying to resume a rural "neighborhood" watch program that may prevent future thefts and identify suspects.

Scott Harrison

Scott is a reporter for KRDO. Learn more about Scott here.

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