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Police are looking into theft of cattle

There was a time in Farmington's history when the theft of chickens or livestock wasn't all that unusual. These days, though, that kind of thing doesn't happen so much.

Suffice it to say, the recent theft of four beef cattle from the Donnelly Farms on Flagstaff Avenue has got Farmington police officers a little stumped.

The theft was reported Oct. 29, after Bob Donnelly noticed a few of the gates on the farm looked like they had been tampered with. Paired up with the presence of fresh tire tracks and a head-count of the beef cattle coming up four short, it was evident the practice of cattle rustling was alive and well in Farmington.

"We don't get it all that often," said Farmington police detective sergeant Lee Hollatz. "In fact, this is the first one that has come across my desk since I've been a sergeant, or even a patrol officer. I won't say this hasn't ever happened, but it hasn't happened recently."

The four cattle were tagged with specific numbers. All four were also mature beef cattle, meaning they were ready to be processed. Hollatz suspects the thief or thieves had a fair knowledge of the cattle industry.

"Whoever took the cattle knows how this operation is run," Hollatz said. "This isn't your local 14-year-old boys breaking into cars."

So far, police have no suspects in the theft. Farmington school resource officer Jason Fox - who grew up in the farming industry - has taken the lead in the investigation, even though he's in the schools on a day-to-day basis. The assignment makes sense, Hollatz said, because Fox has an understanding of the processes involved in raising cattle.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to contact Farmington police at 651-280-6700.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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