Three Men Charged in Brazen Cattle Rustling Heist Worth Over $250,000

Three men have been charged with stealing 306 cattle worth $253,089 from two remote stations in Western Australia's Kimberley region. The alleged theft, which took place between October 12 and 24, 2022, involved an elaborate scheme using earth-moving equipment, helicopters, and portable cattle yards.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Three Men Charged in Brazen Cattle Rustling Heist Worth Over $250,000

Three Men Charged in Brazen Cattle Rustling Heist Worth Over $250,000

In a daring heist straight out of the Wild West, three men have been charged with stealing 306 cattle worth a staggering $253,089.54 from two remote stations in Western Australia's rugged Kimberley region. The alleged theft, which took place between October 12 and 24, 2022, has sent shockwaves through the tight-knit ranching community.

Why this matters: This brazen cattle rustling case highlights the ongoing struggle against livestock theft in Australia's vast outback, which can have devastating financial and emotional impacts on rural communities. Moreover, it underscores the need for improved security measures and cooperation between law enforcement agencies to combat this type of organized crime.

The Western Australia Police Force's Rural Crime Team launched an extensive investigation in October 2022 after receiving reports of missing livestock from the Louisa Downs and Mount Pierre stations, sprawling properties located midway between the towns of Fitzroy Crossing and Halls Creek. Authorities allege that the accused men orchestrated an elaborate scheme, complete with earth-moving equipment, portable cattle yards, and even helicopters, to round up and transport the cattle across state lines.

According to police, the men set up a makeshift camp on the Louisa Downs Pastoral Aboriginal Corporation station, using heavy machinery to grade a road leading to the neighboring Mount Pierre Pastoral Aboriginal Corporation station. From there, they allegedly employed "two helicopters and a ground crew, including bull catching buggies, to muster the cattle" over a 12-day period, before loading the animals onto trucks bound for a property in the Northern Territory.

The investigation took a dramatic turn in January 2023, when Northern Territory Police executed an extra-territorial search warrant at a property along the Adelaide River, uncovering evidence that some of the stolen cattle had been sold and exported. Financial records revealed that part of the proceeds, averaging $827.09 per head, had been deposited into bank accounts linked to the accused over several months.

The three men, two from Fitzroy Crossing aged 41 and 39, and a 42-year-old from the Northern Territory, were charged with stealing on April 16, 2023. The Fitzroy Crossing men are set to appear in court on May 14, while the Northern Territory man is scheduled to face the Fitzroy Crossing Magistrates Court on July 9.

Cattle rustling, a crime that conjures images of the lawless frontier, remains a serious issue in Australia's vast outback. The 306 stolen cattle from Louisa Downs and Mount Pierre stations represent a significant financial blow to the affected ranches, underscoring the challenges faced by remote communities in safeguarding their livelihoods. As the case against the three accused men unfolds, it serves as a stark reminder of the ongoing battle against livestock theft in the heart of Australia's rugged wilderness.

Key Takeaways

  • 3 men charged with stealing 306 cattle worth $253,089.54 from 2 WA stations.
  • Cattle rustling occurred between Oct 12-24, 2022, in WA's Kimberley region.
  • Elaborate scheme involved earth-moving equipment, helicopters, and portable yards.
  • Stolen cattle were sold and exported, with proceeds deposited into accused's accounts.
  • Case highlights ongoing struggle against livestock theft in Australia's outback.