Cattle Rustling Reaches Record Levels: Old West Crime Makes a Big Comeback


A crime as old as the West is taking off again like a stampede as cattle rustlers armed with wire cutters and cattle trailers crisscross country roads.

“We’ve got some awful good cowboys, you know,” said Marvin Willis, Texas Special Ranger. “They can load the cattle in a hurry.”

For the second year in a row, cattle rustling may reach record levels. There were 6,404 cattle thefts in Texas in 2008 and only 2,400 thefts in 2007, according to the Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

A modern-day posse of more than two dozen Texas Rangers — including Willis — is charged with tracking down cattle thieves.

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