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Alabama cattle theft ring busted by rural officials

Two brothers are facing charges in connection with the theft of cattle from the community of New Harmony. The sheriff’s office in DeKalb County worked together with the state’s Agriculture Rural Crime Unit to investigate the disappearance of about 50 head of cattle between May 13 and 24. Additionally, reports indicated that farm equipment was missing. A pair of dead cattle that had been shot were discovered on County Road 458 on May 25, and the ARCU was notified the following day.

Both men taken into custody have been charged with two counts of property theft in the first degree. The older brother has also been charged with receipt of stolen property in the third degree as well as promotion of prison contraband. According to county officials, additional charges are pending. Both men were booked into county facilities on May 28.

The ARCU has been in existence for nearly one year, established to assist other law enforcement agencies in addressing the needs and protection of rural and farming communities in the state. The agency operates a tip line for the reporting of suspicious activities or farm crimes. The unit employs officials with experience in dealing with livestock movement and theft.

A lawyer representing an individual facing criminal charges may evaluate documentation of the detention to ensure that appropriate protocol has been observed, especially with regard to any search and seizure. When a prosecution’s evidence is compelling for conviction, it may be possible to negotiate a plea bargain related to some charges in exchange for a guilty plea on other counts.

Source: Southeast AG Net, “Rural Investigators Bust Northeast Alabama Cattle Theft Ring“, May 30, 2014