Number of Oklahoma cattle thefts rises 

Well, here's something you don't read every day " at least, not since horseless carriages became popular: the rate of cattle rustling has doubled since 2008.

Yes, cattle rustling, as in stealing cows. We wonder if a gunslinger who frequents the local saloon is going to get on the case? His name is John Wayne, have you heard of him? He was a railroad boss, working for crooks, but he's given it all up to protect this here little town. But with a score to settle with One-Eyed Pete and his sights set on pretty Lula Mae, will he be able to track down the gang that is terrorizing the cows in town? (Read that in a movie announcer voice " it makes much more sense that way).

Anyway, the cow stealing. According to the Tulsa World, the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has reported that cattle theft is going strong this year at about 45 missing head a month " that's double from last year.

"I didn't think that happened anymore," said 79-year-old Ted Allen, whose Bixby ranch has been cow burgled in recent months. "I've only seen it on TV and in the movies."

You and us both, Mr. Allen.

Tom Troxel, an ag prof at the University of Arkansas, said the crappy economy could be to blame, saying other states like Texas, Missouri and Montana are also reporting big increases in cattle rustling.

"Cattle rustling always seems to go up when the economy goes down."

It also doesn't help that Oklahoma is fairly close to major stockyards in Dallas, Kansas City and St. Louis, said Col. Mike Grimes, the state agriculture department's director of investigative services (the John Wayne in this here tale).

"Once they go across the border, we have ways to track them down, but it gets much harder," the lawman said.

And, it's harder for honest ranchers to make a buck. Jeff Emerson, a rancher near Allen, discovered at least 15 cattle missing from his herd.

"It's already bad just because of the economy," he said. "With this, I feel like I'm running a nonprofit."

Maybe he should consider heading west? We've heard there's gold in them thar' hills (gold, we tell ya!).

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