TSCRA offering reward for cattle thief

FORT WORTH, TEXAS – Authorities are looking for an alleged cattle thief who has been missing since March. A reward has been offered through the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) Operation Cow Thief for any information leading to the arrest of Ronald Ryan Shepard, also known as Ron Shepard of Brookfield Cattle Co. and Brookport Cattle Co.

Shepard, 36, Illinois, was indicted Monday by a Rains County grand jury on 3 counts of cattle theft after he failed to make prompt payment on cattle purchased on 3 different dates to an East Texas auction market.

TSCRA Special Ranger Larry Hand began investigating Shepard in August 2011 after Brookfield Cattle Co. failed to make prompt payment on more than $600,000 worth of cattle from 7 different East Texas auction markets. Through diligence of the sale barns and TSCRA, Shepard eventually made payments to 6 of the 7 victims. Charges were filed on the lack of prompt payments to the final auction market.

Shepard is also wanted for theft in Arkansas, Kentucky and Florida. The U.S. Marshals Service issued a warrant on Shepard for skipping bail in federal court in Illinois and the state of Illinois has also issued a revocation of probation warrant.

Shepard was listed as a missing person in March after his vehicle was discovered unattended at an Illinois livestock auction market, but Hand warns that Shepard could be anywhere still buying cattle without prompt payment.

Hand says that the Rains County district attorney's office, especially DA Robert Vititow, played a large part in Shepard's Texas indictments. Chris Origliosso, U.S. probation officer, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in Benton, Illinois, were also instrumental in the investigation.

Anyone with information on Ron Shepard should contact TSCRA's Operation Cow Thief at 888-830-2333 or the US Marshals Service at 618-439-6442.

TSCRA has 30 special rangers stationed strategically throughout Texas and Oklahoma who have in-depth knowledge of the cattle industry and are trained in all facets of law enforcement. All are commissioned as Special Rangers by the Texas Department of Public Safety and/or the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

TSCRA is a 135 year-old trade association and is the largest and oldest livestock organization based in Texas. TSCRA has more than 15,000 beef cattle operations, ranching families and businesses as members. These members represent approximately 50,000 individuals directly involved in ranching and beef production who manage 4 million head of cattle on 76 million acres of range and pasture land primarily in Texas and Oklahoma, but throughout the Southwest.