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Three arrested for livestock theft
Three Washington County men were arrested and charged with third degree felony theft of livestock after stealing three calves from a rancher in Burton. According to a July 29 Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) press release, TSCRA Special Ranger Doug Hutchison led the investigation.
Earl Wain Mathis, 47, and Donnell Patterson, 17, both of Burton, were arrested July 25. Arthur Gantt Reliford, 38, of Burton was arrested July 24. They are being held in the Washington County Jail and each of the three suspects has a $10,000 bond.
According to Hutchison, the suspects stole the calves in June and took them to the Giddings Livestock Commission to sell them. Auction owner Larry Shatte was suspicious of the sales transaction so he notified Nina Nygard, TSCRA market inspector. Nygard then contacted Hutchison so he could begin investigating the case.
Hutchison said they were able to make a positive identification on one calf with photographs and by pairing it with its mother. It is now back in the rightful owner’s possession. The other two calves had already been shipped, worked, and turned out into large herds, making them impossible to identify. However, the Giddings Livestock Commission was able to stop payment on the check issued to the suspects, and the funds were instead paid to the victim.
“The best way ranchers can protect their livestock from being stolen is to brand and keep a regular count on their cattle,” said Hutchison. “Without a brand, it makes it very difficult to positively identify livestock after they are stolen.”
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