When you think of cattle rustlers, you might picture the Old West version: a gang of armed desperados on horseback, driving a stolen herd across the High Plains. Or you might envision the very-real modern cattle thieves, backing a stock trailer up to a gate in the dark of night.
What you probably don’t imagine is three guys in a Honda Civic, one of them sharing the back seat with a 220-pound stolen calf. But that was the scene when a deputy sheriff in Luna County New Mexico pulled the car over last week, according to an Associated Press article.
Now the compact-car cowboys reportedly are parking their boots in the Luna County Detention Center, facing charges of larceny of livestock, conspiracy, lack of a bill of sale and exporting livestock.
The article does not say what became of the calf, or whether it enjoyed its car trip, but hopefully it has returned to its rightful owner. Also unknown is how the three determined who sat with the critter in the back seat.
Clearly though, the thieves have taken the advice of experts on how to save gas, including driving a small, economical car, carpooling when possible and multitasking to avoid unnecessary trips. I can imagine the head rustler’s gas-saving trip list:
- Do the grocery shopping.
- Pick up Cletus and Jim-Bob from work.
- Stop for a case of malt liquor (Get plenty, Cletus and Jim-Bob will want some.)
- Swing by that pasture along the back road and wrestle a calf into the back seat.
- Go home, cook dinner and hose out the Civic.
So, keep your eyes open. Today’s cattle thieves might show up with tractor-trailers, or they might not. Have you seen the hatchback on the Prius hybrid? It looks like you could fit two calves in one of those things.