Stolen Mass.Steers Found in Lancaster County

9/8/2012 7:00 AM
By Jennifer Todd Lancaster Newspapers

LANCASTER, Pa. — Nearly 40 steers stolen last Saturday night from a Massachusetts farm have been found at a New Holland, Pa., auction house.

The animals, valued at $50,000, were taken between 10 p.m. and midnight from a communal farm in Dartmouth, about 65 miles south of Boston.

The cattle were delivered Sunday by a third party transport to New Holland Sales Stables, according to New Holland police Lt. Jonathan Heisse.

Heisse said the owner of the cattle, Ahmed Mahmoud of New Bedford, Mass., got a tip that his animals were being taken to the New Holland auction.

Mahmoud drove 370 miles from Massachusetts to Lancaster County on Sunday and contacted New Holland police when he arrived around 9 p.m. according to Heisse.

“Police went with him to the stables and through tags and scars on the cattle, Mahmoud was able to identify the animals as his,” Heisse said.

Authorities here contacted police in Dartmouth and verified that Mahmoud had reported his cattle stolen.

The stable agreed to hold the steers overnight so Mahmoud could arrange transportation, Heisse said. The cattle were taken back to Massachusetts on Monday.

Heisse said authorities in New Holland will not be filing charges. Dartmouth police are handling the investigation, he said.

Dartmouth police said later in the week that they had recovered 10 cattle in Medway, Mass., about 40 miles away from the farm, in addition to the 39 found in New Holland, and had identified a suspect and motive.

Police chief Timothy Lee said Mahoud and the person suspected of taking the cattle know each other, and the disappearance apparently stemmed from a financial dispute between them. He did not disclose the suspect’s name, saying the investigation is continuing and no charges have been filed.

Both Heisse and the New Holland Sales Stable’s office manager, Mike McDermott, said it’s not the first time stolen animals have shown up at the auction house.

“It’s really not that uncommon to get a call about a stolen horse that turns up at the auction,” Heisse said. “Cattle is a little more rare, especially such a large number as in this case.”

McDermott agreed.

“Yeah, this one was a little different,” he said. “And the fact that they traveled so far with them — it’s kind of strange. I’m just glad we were able to help get it all straightened out and get the animals back to the owner.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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