Rustlers Decimate Herd

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Thursday, November 18, 2010 - 5:36pm

Dozens of cows stolen from elderly Florida rancher.

Bob Edwards moved to Florida's Okechobee County four decades ago, buying a ranch on Highway 78 where many people don't even lock their doors.

Edwards did keep his property under lock and key, protecting the 500 cows that roam his land.

Someone knew how to get in and on the afternoon of October 29th, however.

They drove two cattle trucks onto the property, loaded up close to 100 cows, and disappeared.

Edwards was away, undergoing chemotherapy.

"They took out two loads that day," says Edwards. "Before then, I thought I was missing some but I had no proof because I can't ride a horse, can't do much."

Deputies think the thieves may have working knowledge of the ranch and its owner.

Investigators are also looking into a similar theft in Lee County to see if the two are related.

Deputy Mike Hazellief says the cows likely weren't sold at a local market.

"We've checked the markets in the area, but if the right purchaser came along and knew the person who stole the cattle, they could do a deal without going through a marketplace, they could do just a person to person transaction," he says.

The stolen cows are all branded with the ranch's signature Arrow E.

Edwards is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
 

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