Man Arrested Over Humongous Cattle Theft

By Hari Yellina
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A 71-year-old man has been charged with stealing $1.5 million worth of animals from a cattle property in the Northern Territory. In June of last year, police went to a cattle station on the Sturt Plateau, in the Territory’s south, to look into reports that 435 animals had been stolen from a nearby property. Detectives issued a search order on the farm in late June to retrieve evidence of cattle sales and compare the DNA of the station’s weaners to that of the stolen calves. 658 cattle on the ranch had paternal ties to the original 435 head, according to DNA evidence. According to police, a lot of weaners on the station are third generation offspring of the suspect.

Investigations revealed that roughly 1,200 cattle were stolen, including weaners and sold livestock, with an estimated worth of $1.47 million. Detectives arrived at the station on Wednesday and detained a 71-year-old man, who was charged with one case of theft and two charges of criminal fraud. The arrest, according to Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Lawson, was the product of ten months of police investigation. “To retrieve the remaining cattle, a mustering plan has been created and is now being carried out,” he stated. The individual was released on bail and ordered to appear in Katherine Local Court on June 6, with additional charges likely to follow as a consequence of the present inquiry.

More than 1,200 head of cattle worth $1.47 million were allegedly taken, according to police. The livestock were most likely stolen over a period of years, according to Detective Senior Sergeant Paul Lawson. “I believe the industry refers to it as’sweating calves,’ where calves from [neighbouring] properties are branded with their own brand, and they may return the cows but keep the calves,” he explained. “That was [supposedly] going on [at this site], but he’s had the cows for a long time and benefitted from the offspring.” According to Detective Senior Sergeant Lawson of the Rural Police Department, officers with experience in the cattle industry and contract heli-musterers are performing a muster of the entire property. “That might take up to 10 to 14 days,” he added. “We’re attempting to locate all the stolen animals while also determining if there are any other offences.”

One count of stealing and two charges of criminal fraud have been filed against the individual. He was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in Katherine Local Court on June 6, with additional charges expected as a result of the muster. Taskforce After years of campaigning by the NT Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) for a specialised stock-squad in NT Police, Starlight was born. “Stock theft is a crime that all Australians should take seriously,” said NTCA CEO Will Evans.


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