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Suspected cattle rustlers arrested in Moore County

Posted on Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 9:00 am

LYNCHBURG — Last month investigators with the sheriff’s office arrested three people in connection with cattle theft in Bedford County. A local dairy farmer in Bedford County reported three incidents of cattle theft at his farm in January and February.

The livestock owner’s simple security measure then led to the arrest of the three suspected cattle thieves.

After the first two dairy calves were stolen from his farm in January, the cattle owner installed a trail camera to monitor activity on the farm. That camera captured the theft of a third calf in February.

Using the video evidence, detective John Sweeney of the Bedford County Sheriff’s Office and detective Shane Taylor of the Moore County Sheriff’s Dept. worked with Agricultural Crime Unit investigator Michael Whaley to develop suspects.

They were able to locate and recover the stolen calves in Moore County. The value of the calves is approximately $1,800.

On February 20 and 21, three individuals — Jamie Vaughn, Floyd Vaughn and Billy Batten all of Moore County — were arrested and charged in the theft.

“We have seen an increase in thefts. Beef prices are high, and that can motivate thieves,” Ag Crime Unit investigator supervisor Max Thomas said.

In 2014, the department investigated 22 theft cases involving 151 head of cattle. State investigators work closely with local authorities and livestock markets to track and recover stolen animals. However, livestock owners are encouraged to take action to guard their investment.

• Count livestock daily

• Report thefts to law enforcement immediately

• Make sure gates are locked and well lit

• Visible brands can deter thieves and speed recovery

• Consider installation of a security camera system

To report theft of livestock, contact the Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Crime Unit at 1-844-AGCRIME or 1-844-242-7463.

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