Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

April 16, 2013

Cattle rustling doesn’t pay off

Barry Porterfield
Pauls Valley Democrat

bporterfield@pvdemocrat.com — This modern day version of cattle rustling didn’t pay off as one Garvin County man faces criminal charges for stealing and attempting to sell six cows.

Heath McCoy, 32, spent the last few days in jail and more suspects could soon follow for the theft of what was described as a half dozen “high dollar cows” from a site southwest of Maysville.

Sheriff Larry Rhodes said his county deputies teamed with a law enforcement agent from the state Department of Agriculture after the theft of six Limousine cows was reported on March 31.

“This is an unusual case,” Rhodes said.

“This is not something that you normally see.”

Even with a $1,000 reward offered by the cattle’s owners, not much was happening with the case until last Friday morning when investigators got the tip they needed.

“We got information that Heath McCoy and an unnamed person had attempted to trade all the cattle in Alex,” the sheriff said, adding the offer was $1,000 per cow.

“We were told the cattle were rebranded and being kept on property leased by McCoy.”

When investigators went to the estimated 150 acres located southeast of Maysville they found all six of the 2- to 3-year-old heifers

As the cattle were in the process of being returned to their rightful owner, deputies set up a surveillance of McCoy’s residence south of Maysville.

They didn’t locate McCoy but they find some incriminating evidence.

“We found four branding irons on the back of a vehicle in his driveway,” Rhodes said.

“This was the same brand as the ones used on the stolen cattle.”

The brand found, legally registered to McCoy, was used on all six of the cows, either as fresh brands or over old ones.

Officials then learned they should on the lookout for McCoy in a yellow pickup.

While Rhodes himself was waiting at an oil field tool company in Lindsay where the pickup had come from it was McCoy who drove up to the site in that same truck Saturday afternoon. He was then taken into custody.

Rhodes said they now have an arrest warrant issued for a second suspect in the case, and that number could possibly grow to three later.

As for a case from last week, the sheriff said a total of 22 horses were seized from property west of Pauls Valley only after a court order approved the action.

Rhodes said evidence was first presented showing probable cause of animal neglect.

The court order was then approved allowing deputies to seize the horses as each one then received medical attention from a veterinarian before going to a non-profit agency with the task of finding them all new homes.