A Texas man is in custody in the Hill County, Texas, jail in lieu of $1 million bond after being charged with livestock theft. More charges are expected this week as three more felony charges will be introduced.
William “Willie” Rittenbaugh, 47, of Mt. Calm, Tex., appeared before Judge Lee Harris, in Hillsboro, Texas’, 66th District Court, for initial arraignment.
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Rangers Special Ranger Marvin Wills told television station KWTX he has a list of separate charges on Rittenbaugh he’ll present to the judge. “I’d guess that bond will go much higher,” Willis said.
Willis said the additional charges include two for cattle theft and one for horse theft. On Sept. 24, 2018, Willis charged Rittenbaugh with Misapplication of Fiduciary Property, a first-degree felony.
That investigation was conducted by Willis after a McLennan County rancher contacted by about more than 1,000 head of bred cows and seven bulls he purchased over a 3-year period that he negotiated with Rittenbaugh to manage.
In June the McLennan County victim demanded the delivery of 511 cows and two year’s worth of calf crops that were presumably under Rittenbaugh’s care. Willis was called when Rittenbaugh failed to deliver the cattle.
Rittenbaugh was also indicted in July of 2018, for allegedly stealing cattle from a Hill County rancher.
“It is fortunate that the cattle allegedly stolen were branded, making their identification straightforward,” said Wills. “Had the animals not been branded this case would have been difficult to prove and the rancher may not have gotten the cattle back.”