In this file:


·         Rounding up rustlers

·         PREVIEW: The Great Cattle Heist



Rounding up rustlers


by: Angela Kennecke, KELOLAND TV (SD) 

Sep 10, 2020


Since 2017, more than 2,000 cattle have gone missing in South Dakota — and those are just the reported cases to the state Brand Board.


The actual number is suspected to be much higher than that.


With calves and cows worth anywhere from $900 to $2,000 apiece, cattle rustling is a big business. It’s a risk thieves are willing to take because so few are ever caught.


Out of the thousands of livestock reported missing in South Dakota in the last few years, fewer than 20 percent are ever recovered. But when a cattle rustler is caught, it’s a serious crime.


In July, Aaron Podzimek of Wagner was sentenced for stealing more than more than $300,000 worth of cattle and feed checks in Charles Mix County. Podzimek ran a feed lot and sold cattle that didn’t belong to him. He pleaded guilty to one felony of embezzlement or grand theft. He’ll spend a year-and-a-half in prison and must pay the owners back nearly $333,000.


In 2019, Joshua Nygaard pleaded guilty in a plea bargain of possessing stolen property after taking 29 head of cattle from a Moody County farm. Nygaard was sentenced to two and a half years in prison and ordered to pay $31,450 in restitution.


In 2017, Nicholas Tooker was arrested in Texas and faced extradition to South Dakota on a felony cattle theft charge out of Hamlin County. He ended up paying the owner $10,000 for the steer and the charges were dismissed.


In 2015, Kyle Alan Hall got seven years for grand theft after taking 11 calves from a Hyde County ranch where he worked as a hired hand. Hall sold the stolen calves on Craigslist.


Yet hundreds of cases of missing cattle go unsolved every year, like the four producers in McPherson County who lost 111 cattle last fall.


“Here’s the difficult part when it comes to investigating these thefts–a lot of times producers will turn their cattle out in the spring and they often do run through their cattle on a weekly basis–sometimes a couple of times of week. But in a large area, it’s hard to get a good head count until you’ve gathered in the fall,” McPherson County Sheriff Dave Ackerman said.


Lesterville area farmer Dan Kubal was a little bit luckier...


more, including mug shots, video report [3:03 min.]



PREVIEW: The Great Cattle Heist


by: Angela Kennecke, KELOLAND TV (SD) 

Sep 10, 2020


SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — You don’t think of South Dakota as having much organized crime. But just like with the drug cartels, cattle rustling is big business for thieves in South Dakota. KELOLAND’s Angela Kennecke has been investigating the great cattle heist that started in the wild west and continues today.


When producers in this state first brought this issue to my attention, I didn’t realize just how prevalent it was. For decades, cattle–sometimes an astonishing number of them–go missing and are never found. In many cases they are stolen.


Cattle rustling is big business in the South Dakota for thieves. In tonight’s KELOLAND News Investigation we look at current unsolved cases and we go back all the way to 2017 to see how many cattle have been reported stolen in the state and how infrequently they are recovered. East river farmer Dan Kubal lost 17 heads to theft in July.


Kennecke: What does 17 cattle mean to you?

Kubal: Well it’s an awful lot of dollars for a calf drop. For anybody, it’s a major loss.


“It is remote. You’d have to probably know the area, or driving around the area and scoping it out,” Yankton County Chief Deputy Sheriff Mike Rothschadl said.


In addition to the unsolved cases...


more, including video report [1:25 min.]