Hendry and Glades County law enforcement officials report a recent increase in agricultural crimes.
On May 27, the Glades County Sheriff’s Office was called to respond to a rural area off of State Road 78 West, between Wayman Road and U.S. 27.
“A Glades County rancher discovered that one of his cows had been butchered in a pasture approximately 60 yards off the roadway. From evidence gathered at the scene, it appeared that the incident occurred sometime between late Tuesday night (May 26) and the early morning hours of Wednesday morning (May 27).”
At 10:44 p.m. on May 31, 2020, the Hendry County Cattlemen’s Association posted on their Facebook page: “Yeah! Caught four guys killing and butchering cows on Keri. From Miami. They’re still on the run. Police everywhere, helicopter flying.” Followed by a clarifying comment from Ken Sposato, “They identified four people caught in the act. The people took off, leaving their vehicle behind. They ran the plates to reveal the vehicle is registered to an owner from Miami.” There were no updates or details from any law enforcement agencies regarding these social media posts.
The GCSO and the Florida Agricultural Crimes Intelligence Unit have advised that similar incidents have occurred in surrounding counties. Past incidents include ranchers, located in the Devil’s Garden area of Clewiston, who lost cattle from their roadside pastures to thieves. One report was of a cow with its hindquarters harvested. As for the other incident, the cow was shot, and law watched the carcass through the night. No one returned to attempt harvest the meat. Also, a rancher on the Hendry/Collier County line reported a hydraulic squeeze chute and several stock panels had been stolen.
The law enforcement agencies have recommended that ranchers and farmers identify all of their equipment with permanent ID, in discreet locations. They also advised everyone to be cautious of and to report sales of this type of equipment, and that everyone continue to safeguard their property.
The GCSO is asking for help from the public. If anyone remembers seeing anything suspicious in that area or has information pertaining to the case from May 25 through May 27, to contact Detective Sgt. Daryl Sherley at 863-946-1600, ext. 2111. They also ask that everyone “be vigilant when driving late at night and report vehicles or suspicious activity on the side of the road. This may provide additional leads or at least help with assisting a stranded motorist.”