WASHINGTON, OK Four local cattle that were stolen last week could be on their way home Sunday.
The three prize-winning heifers and one steer turned up in Winfield, Kan., where they apparently were sold the same day they were taken.
"It was just a miracle they were found, said Jennifer Hardcastle, who reported the cattle stolen. "We were so excited.
Hardcastle who had put up a reward for the cattle's safe return said she agreed to drive the 150 miles to pick them up from a man who unwittingly bought the stolen livestock at an auction Jan. 12.
"We travel to shows so much it don't matter, she said. "We would have driven to Timbuktu if we had to.
Hardcastle's sons, Collin, 14, and Jared, 17, and her 9 year-old grandson, Blaze Farmer, had entered the cattle in several livestock shows, most recently in Arizona.
McClain County sheriff's Detective Bill Shobe said a student at Oklahoma State University heard about the boys' plight on a local television news broadcast.
"She knew her dad had bought some calves that looked similar, Shobe said. "She called and told him to check to see if they could have been stolen.
Her father, who lives in Kansas, contacted Shobe, who verified the cows were the same ones reported stolen.
Bob Hedges told authorities he paid almost $3,000 for the cattle. However, he might be able to get his money back.
Hardcastle said she had considered a $2,500 reward. When she talked with Hedges, he said he just wanted his money back. Hardcastle said either she or the auction's insurance company should be able to grant Hedges' request.
Shobe said the thief may have used a fictitious name on the bill of sale. Authorities are searching tape from security cameras that may hold clues to the thief's identity, he said.Archive ID: 2228226