Steeds 21

26 04 2017

RUSTLERS!

            Horses are being stolen in Tuscumbia County, according to Sheriff Llewellyn E. Leall. Since Easter, at least thirteen have been rustled from citizens located throughout his jurisdiction. These are among the victims.

Fred Sommerfeldt, a farmer in the Town of Green Prairie, lost one.

Walter Stancil, a tinker in the City of Uttica, lost one.

William Chesney, a farmer in the Town of Utley, lost one.

Jeffrey Rayner, a farrier and owner of a livery stable and wagon dealership in the City of Mascoutin, lost two.

Willard Zik, a patent medicine salesman visiting the City of Mascoutin, lost one.

Adolph Kleindl, a hog farmer in the Town of Fox Prairie, lost one.

Edward Chastain, of Chastain & Sons Farm Equipment in the Town of Pleasant Valley, lost two.

Elmer Villwock, a farmer in the Town of Spring Grove, lost four.

Of particular interest, according to Sheriff Leall, “Only the horses have been taken. No tack, no vehicles, and no other equipment were stolen. Indeed, in one case, the horse was unhitched, leaving wagon and harness behind. In two other cases, saddles and bridles were left behind.”

As of this writing, no suspects have been identified, let alone apprehended. None of the stolen horses has been recovered, alive or dead. Sheriff Leall has said, “My entire department is at work trying to solve these crimes. Add to us every constable in every township and the Mascoutin police force.”

Sheriff Leall advises citizens to be on the alert. To those who own or care for horses, “Take extra precautions to guard and secure your animals, especially at night. Make sure they cannot get loose of their own accord, as this will only complicate our investigation.”

Sheriff Leall encourages citizens to familiarize themselves with their horses’ physical characteristics. “Such knowledge will aid us in returning horses to their rightful owners in the event of theft and recovery.”

Branding is a common means of indicating ownership, but it is not necessary, the Sheriff said. “Brands can be altered. Besides, both the original burn and any subsequent burns put the horse’s health at risk.”

Sheriff Leall also advises against notching ears. “Wicked men will cut marked ears off.”

Sheriff Leall added, “Clipping a horse’s coat into a distinctive pattern can be helpful, as can distinctively grooming a horse’s mane and tail. These, however, can be altered. Tattoos are more difficult to change.”

Said the sheriff, “It is best carefully to note a horse’s conformation, color combination, and marking pattern. Note any scars and blemishes. Even the pattern formed by the arrangement of hair on the face is significant. Note the horse’s age. Note the breed. Any record of pedigree can be valuable.”

No other livestock have been reported stolen.

Any citizen having information helpful in solving these crimes should contact the nearest officer of the law.

Citizens needing to maintain confidentiality may contact the staff of this newspaper.

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