An Arkansas man entrusted to care for two producers’ livestock admitted to taking at least 140 animals in 2011 and now faces a felony theft charge.
Hayden Wyatt and Steve Wortham paid Troy Aaron Sample to care for their livestock but Wyatt became suspicious and decided to take inventory in November 2011. Wyatt confronted Sample about the cattle numbers and he eventually confessed to taking animals.
Wyatt was unable to calculate the number of missing cattle, but documents he sent to authorities show at least 14 cows and 47 calves belonging to Wortham and 19 cows and 60 calves belonging to both Wyatt and Wortham were missing. According to the Guardian, an affidavit for Sample’s arrest signed by Arkansas State Police Special Agent Wendall Jines shows the stolen cattle are valued at $117,300.
Sample told Wyatt he was in a bind and regretted taking the livestock, but would not say where the animals went. A check of local sale barns could not confirm any sales by Sample and sale barn owners said such a sale would raise a red flag.
Wyatt says there have been several cattle rustling cases in his area due to rising cattle prices and hopes the arrest sends a message to those who steal livestock from farmers.