After allegedly stealing cattle in southeast Kansas and attempting to sell them across state lines at the Oklahoma National Stockyards Co. the two people responsible are in jail.
The Cherokee Sheriff’s Office in Kansas reports that Anthony Francis Whittley and Jasmine A. Boone, both 27 of rural Labette County, Kansas, were arrested on Nov. 11. The arrest happened just hours after 17 head of steers, averaging 450 lb. were reported missing from a pasture outside Columbus to the Cherokee Sheriff’s Office by the cattle owner.
The owner was contacted soon after the missing cattle report was submitted once an employee with the Oklahoma National Stockyards noticed the owner’s brand on the cattle.
“Once the steers were positively identified as those stolen from Cherokee County, law enforcement was able to work in partnership with the sale barn operators and appear to sell the cattle,” says Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.
By allowing the cattle to go through the ring and appear to sell it allowed authorities to find out who had dropped the steers off when they returned to pick up the check.
Jerry Flowers, Chief Agent for the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry’s (ODAFF) Investigative Services, shared on Facebook how the case materialized so quickly including the alertness of the sale barn staff to identify the brands on the cattle.
“Both outlaws not only confessed to stealing these cattle in Kansas but confessed to stealing cattle in Eastern Oklahoma. Special Agents in Oklahoma are working with livestock Special Agents from Kansas to determine where these suspects have stolen cattle from in Kansas and Oklahoma,” Flowers says.
Authorities in Kansas were also happy for the case to be solved so soon.
“I’m excited about the way this case came together, very quickly, thanks to rapid and accurate information sharing along with collaboration between the cattle owner, representatives of the sale barn, and all law enforcement involved, including the Special Livestock Investigators in Kansas and Oklahoma,” Groves adds.
Making the speed of the arrest more impressive is that the Stockyards located in Oklahoma City are more than 200 miles from where the cattle were reported stolen.
Whittley and Jones are being held in the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma on counts of Transporting Stolen Property Across State Lines, Concealing Stolen Property and being in Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony.
“At this time our office is seeking charges in Kansas for Felony Theft and Criminal Damage to Property, but we also anticipate the filing of additional charges with regards to a similar case from late November, where eight cows were stolen north of Columbus,” Groves says.
In the Facebook post Flowers thanked Special Agent Kendall Lothman, Kansas Livestock Investigator with the Kansas Attorney General Office, ODAFF secretary Tina Fortune and the Oklahoma Cattleman’s Association for letting agents use their facility to interview the cattle rustlers.
“This is another classic example of what can be achieved when law enforcement agencies join forces to protect Oklahoma and Kansas livestock producers,” Flowers relates.
The Parsons Sun reports that Whittley and Boone remain in Oklahoma County Jail on bonds totaling $27,000 each.
The sale barn is working with the cattle owner to return the steers back to Kansas.
A map showing the distance between Columbus, Kansas and the Stockyards in Oklahoma City can be seen below:
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