Cattle stolen from Thomas County ranch -, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Cattle stolen from Thomas County ranch


By LeiLani Golden - bio | email

THOMAS COUNTY, GA (WALB) –It sounds like something from the old west. Thomas County investigators are looking for cattle rustlers.

They're investigating the theft of more than 20-thousand dollars worth of cattle at Woodruff Farms.

It's not the first time cows have been stolen. And now the ranch owner is speaking out hoping the public can help catch the crook who's costing him his livelihood.

For thirty years, Brian Ryles has farmed and maintained the land he grew up on. He no longer farms, now making his living off a modest income from his hay and cattle.

"It's rough. There's really not that much income out here," Ryles admits.

And now, there's even less. Someone trespassed onto the rear of his property, and took cattle worth an estimated 25-30 thousand dollars.

"They got a bunch of cows. They didn't care. Just whatever they wanted and could gather up. They got a pretty good lick."

Ryles says it's not the first time some of his cows have gone missing, but it is the most ever at once.

"I never said anything because I thought maybe someone was getting them and eating them. But this time, there's no doubt, that's pretty raw. I could see someone getting one or a calf if they needed something to eat, but not 15-20."

Every gate on Woodruff Farms is kept shut and locked with a chain. But Ryles says with 800 acres, it's impossible to keep surveillance on all of it to make sure intruders stay out.

"It's just hard to watch it all at one time. Some of what I'm talking about is a half mile that way. And I'm over here. And if that train comes through, you can't hear anything."

But he is taking steps to better protect his ranch.

"We've got some cameras out now and stuff and the investigators are going to do their job and we'll hope for the best."

Ryles is hoping someone will come forward with information on the theft.

His message to the crook?

"I hope the Sheriff's office catches you, that's all I can say."

And he's left disheartened that someone would steal from an honest, hard-working man.

Ryles says he first realized something was wrong when he found a fence taken down and the ground messed up during a routine check of his property.

If you have any information about the crime, call the Thomas County Sheriff's Investigators at (229) 225-3315.

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