A number of cattle thefts have been reported in Hopkins county around the Sulphur Springs area. One rancher has already lost thousands of dollars worth of animals to the still unknown thieves. Numerous ranchers in Hopkins county have fallen victim to a rash of cattle rustling incidents, but rancher Randal Bouldin has been hit especially hard.
"I was born and raised on this land out here; I've had cattle all my life," Bouldin says.
About two years ago, Bouldin started noticing his cattle were disappearing.
"They've took my cows one at a time, two and a time one at a time and then a dozen at a time," he says.
Rustlers have hit his stock over a dozen times.
"I never imagined I'd see cattle rustling on this scale this day and time. 27 head of cattle and this is running me $40,000," he says.
Bouldin found evidence of organization: a makeshift pen at the edge of his property, where his cattle were herded to.
"I followed the trail right into this cattle pen. They did this in the middle of the night," he says.
A special meeting was held this week where 30 ranchers turned out to talk about what they can do to stop the thefts. A special ranger has been appointed to investigate.
"I'm quite certain they're being resold; the price of cattle has escalated tremendously. I have slept in my vehicle in the pasture at night trying to catch someone moving cattle," Bouldin says.
Bouldin hopes the thieves are caught, before he gets cleaned out.
"This is money out of my pocket not just for the cattle but all the expense I put into the cattle, feed, hay, vet bills," he says.
Bouldin, a Vietnam veteran, says he has lost more than two-thirds of his livestock to thefts, and he is down to 16 head of cattle.