By DOUG GRAVES
GNADENHUTTEN, Ohio — Having a wallet or even a car stolen isn’t so rare. Neither is cattle rustling anymore, and more times than not there is no happy ending.
Last week the Tuscarawas County Sheriff’s Office in northeastern Ohio arrested two men in connection with a string of cattle rustling believed to have spanned two years or more. Jack B. Callahan, 42, of Gnadenhutten, and David B. Henderson, 24, of Kimbolton, were jailed July 2 in connection with the theft. Callahan is being held on a felony theft charge, with bail set at $30,000.
Detective Jeff Moore said some of the stolen cattle were being held at Callahan’s place. Six head were returned to their owners, while as many as 40 have been taken and likely sent to auction.
After the report of stolen cattle around 2:30 a.m. on March 20, Moore followed up with local livestock auctions and discovered one had received a delivery at 4 a.m. Moore said that was “unusually early.”
Richard Gardner III of West Chester in southwestern Ohio was one of the farmers who had cattle returned after the arrests. Gardner was happy to see a bull, a couple of cows and a calf returned to his farm. He did say, though, the number not returned is estimated to be worth nearly $20,000.
Unfortunately, Gardner didn’t have insurance on the herd, dropping his insurance after suffering heavy losses in 1990. “It means a lot to see these rustlers actually going to justice,” he said.
Patrick Patterson of Patterson Farms near Coshocton lost 16 head of cattle last winter. After the arrests were made, he visited the farm where some of the allegedly stolen cattle were being held, but said none of his were found. Many are wondering if these two men were involved in this heist of cattle.
Moore believes the thieves might have coaxed the cattle on grain before loading them onto a trailer. He also believes cold weather likely helped the thieves, as farmers are less likely to go out into the fields to feed and take care of livestock during the winter. He advises all farmers to use tattoos and branding as a way to help fight theft of livestock.
Cattle rustling occurs more frequently than one may realize. In February 2012, two farmers in northwestern Ohio said rustlers stole 12 Holstein steers from their farm and they offered $1,000 for information about the theft. Two brothers, who farm in Delphos, about 75 miles southwest of Toledo, owning a herd of 960 had to do a head count to confirm that 14 were missing. The missing steers were never recovered and are estimated to be worth $7,000-$10,000 at auction.