Reducing Theft From Ranches

“In the end, the farmer’s diligence made a big difference and helped us catch two suspected bad guys,” said Grant County Sheriff Tom Jones.

This quote was from a story earlier today about a rancher who called authorities to apprehend two suspects who were trying to make off with $6,000 worth of metal from his property.

3 Key Factors in Catching Ranch Thieves

1. The rancher was alert. This rancher was out and about at 4 in the morning. He was in a position to notice something amiss. He knew the truck and trailer were unfamiliar. He knew that metal theft is a likely candidate. He was consciously paying attention to his surroundings.

2. He observed. Sometimes it’s better to hold on to your cards before busting a place wide open. As a person trying to protect her property, I would have been very tempted to confront the thieves the moment they began trespassing on my property. But as a person with a criminal justice degree, I applaud the rancher for assessing the situation and gathering information.

3. He called the authorities. Instead of handing out his own justice, the rancher called the authorities in for an arrest, and he did it at the right time. Not only were the thieves caught in the act with stolen goods, it also put the rancher in a safer position. You never know how dangerous another person can be, whether they are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or what weapons they have.

In many cases, ranchers and farmers aren’t there to observe. Many operations are sprawled out over many acres and many miles, and everything can’t be watched all the time. Limiting the opportunities for theft is often the best route. And, however fruitless it sometimes seems, report any thefts to your local authorities. They may not hunt down the thieves, but a record of the reported theft will be kept on file. Patterns can be tracked as well as methods of operation.

Have you had metal, fuel or other goods stolen from your property? What did you do about it?


  1. Jeannie says:

    This theft is in the county that I live in. It happens very often around here. The truth is that it has been handled in many ways: it depends on who catches them and at what stage of the burglary. We have many farmers carrying weapons now, which is a little scary. And some have used them. But this farmer did it right. I feel that it’s also important to have that cell phone camera handy. Photos are proof and also record license plates, make and model of vehicle and what is being stolen (if possible). The neighbors in Grant County also watch out for one another. We know what looks ‘fishy’ and what looks ‘normal’. Sheriff Jones is doing a great job here!

    • Great thoughts Jeannie! Using cell phones to document evidence is a great idea as well as the “neighborhood watch” practice. Glad to hear rural crime is being addressed in your county. In many places it’s kind of shoved off to the side.

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