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(NECN: Alysha Palumbo, Dartmouth, Mass.) - Brian Mrqus came to check on his friends’ Dartmouth, Mass., cattle farm Monday after thieves broke in over the weekend and stole more than four dozen cows.
Mrqus said, “That’s a lot of money, all big cows, all beef cows.”
Mrqus says the owners, Ahmed and Paul, noticed the theft on Sunday and called police.
He says they believe the thieves broke down a fence that divides the pens for the larger and smaller cows, then herded the animals into the barn, before corralling them into a waiting trailer.
Mrqus said, “Have to be four people, three people.”
Mrqus says in all 49 cows are missing, presumably taken right through this door in the dark cover of night.
On a hunch that the cattle would quickly be sold at auction, the owners traveled to the biggest auction in the northeast this weekend, in New Holland, Pa.
Sure enough, 39 of their cows were there waiting to be sold, Mrqus says for upwards of $50-60,000.
While they haven’t caught the thieves yet, Mrqus says the owners are hopeful.
Mrqus said, “To deliver the cows for the auction you have to have the numbers, to deliver, to leave the cows you have to put the name for somebody to get the check, got your ID, got everything over there.”
Back at the Dartmouth farm, other neighboring farmers say they wonder if the thieves had been casing the area over the past couple of weeks.
Neighboring farmer Louis Machado said, “A couple weeks ago I saw a big trailer drive in, turn around down next to my place, big trailer, I don’t know what that guy’s doing, checked the place and you know.”
Several of the 18 farmers here say the thieves would have to know the area well because these farms are tucked back down a narrow dirt path in the woods.
Neighboring cattle owner Joe Vieira said, “I thought it was impossible, I’ve been here three years, I’ve never heard anything like this, you feel like you can’t even sleep.”