After more than a year of searching, authorities recovered a majority of cattle reported stolen from an Etowah County farm.
Alabama Agricultural and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU) and Etowah County Sheriff Office investigators arrested Michael Chad Stephens, 34, of Etowah County and Martin Dennis Renfroe, 67, of Cherokee County for receiving stolen property, first degree.
Investigators recovered eight cows and seven calves valued at $12,000.
ARCU Supervisory Special Agent Jay Whitehead said a tip to the Etowah County Sheriff Department helped solve the case. Recovering property is a top priority, Whitehead said.
“Very few times do you actually get stolen cattle back,” he said. “This is the first time in two and a half years we’ve been able to get the majority of cattle back to the owner.”
Whitehead suggested farmers post farm property with reward signs to prevent cattle theft.
“Even if you don’t brand, mark or tag your cattle, you can always take pictures of cattle or remember unique markers about your cattle,” he said.
Investigators arrested the men after the original owner properly identified cattle on Renfroe’s farm.
The investigation is ongoing.