Reporting Laura Cole
STANISLAUS COUNTY (CBS13) — At least 26 cows have been stolen from the same farm, and while the owner thinks he has a motive, he still doesn’t know who is behind the thefts.
Steve Belo works on his dairy farm that’s been hit twice in the last week by calf thieves.
“It’s real frustrating,” he said. “Right now, they are living a pretty good life. Who knows where they are going from here?”
Overnight, culprits stole 16 one-month-old heifers. That’s after already swiping 10 the first time.
To get to the calves, thieves would have to lift up 300-pound cages.
“The workers do their best to keep these things fed and well-maintained, and you’ve got these thieves that come out here and they just steal them.”
Mike Seward oversees a group called Hilmar Farm Watch, working to get the word out about this growing problem.
“We hope this doesn’t become a trend,” he said. “They don’t care it’s a calf. They don’t view it as a life. They view it as income and that’s sad.”
Steve says each calf is worth about $600. He hopes the crooks are caught before the farm’s profits go down the drain.
“These calves are our future. Without these animals, we don’t have a future for our dairy farms.”
And Steve says they’ve already added extra security since the second incident on Monday. He’s planning on adding surveillance cameras very soon.