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Thieves steal 27 calves from Mo. ranch

Jan. 23, 2013 at 1:56 AM

MARIONVILLE, Mo., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Thieves stole 27 calves worth tens of thousands of dollars from a Lawrence County, Mo., ranch in a well-planned operation, authorities said.

The 27 yearlings weigh about 500 pounds each and are worth $900 per head, KSPR-TV, Springfield, reported. They were stolen Sunday night from fifth-generation rancher Kyle Josepth Burk.

"I mean all summer -- every farmer around here lost money from the drought -- and then we get a hit like this," Burk told the TV station. "The high feed costs -- you're not making any money -- and then somebody takes $30,000 of your livelihood and thinks nothing of it."

Lawrence County Sheriff's deputies said the thieves broke down a gate and carefully selected the best animals over the course of several hours, stealing about one-third of the herd.

Burk said insurance will cover only about half of the cost of the loss.

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