Stolen Cattle

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Fifty-eight calves in all, from two dairy farms, in a total of five thefts.

"The 58 calves we're talking about range in size from 175 pounds to 400," explains Det. Sgt. Fritz Sandberg of Clinton County's Sheriff's department.

Granted, moving a 400-pound heifer from pen to just about anywhere else would not be an easy task, but it's happening and Pete Kurncz knows it firsthand.

His dairy farm has been hit twice; the first time nine of his heifers disappeared. The next weekend, the thieves took 19. Grand total in bovine losses: $29,000.

All of these thefts occurred in the dead of night and all of them by someone who knows what they're doing. They're taking calves and young heifers, the best value in the herd. Clinton County calls it a high priority case, strange though it may be.

"It's very serious, we're talking about 50,000 in larceny of cattle," Sandberg says, describing all the crimes in total.

So far, however, "We just have no leads. We've checked with all the slaughterhouses, and we're just coming up with nothing."

Everyone of the young cows stolen from Kurncz and his colleagues at Green Meadows Farms (in Elsie, also hard hit) is tagged, but those yellow tags are removable.

"You can take 'em off, but it leaves a mark," Sandberg says. He's hopeful it's that unintended brand that will lead the herd home.

Kurncz just wants his cows back, so he can put this issue out to pasture. "Lucks gotta run out sometime," he says.