Neighbor won’t stop cutting fence

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OKEECHOBEE — After reportedly cutting his neighbor’s fence twice and allegedly stealing his cows, a local man was charged with grand theft and criminal mischief.

On Oct. 24 at approximately 10 a.m., Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Deputy Bryan Holden responded to a call in reference to a theft on Northeast 304th Street. When he arrived, the complainant explained he was having trouble with his neighbor, Edwin Rucks, 58. He said Rucks cut his fence last week and coerced two of his cows onto Rucks’ property. He said he made a report with the sheriff’s office, and Deputy Richard Varnadore responded. Deputy Varnadore told Rucks to stop cutting the fence and made him return the two cows. The complainant went on to tell Deputy Holden that immediately after Deputy Varnadore left, Rucks threatened him with some type of pistol.
The complainant said when he arrived at his property on the Oct. 24, he found two places in his fence that had been cut since the previous weekend, and he was missing six cows.

Deputy Holden spoke to Rucks, who said he never threatened anyone with a gun and said he is a convicted felon and only owns a BB gun. Deputy Holden noted in his report that the property of the complainant is well-maintained with lush tall grass. On the other hand, Rucks’ property was overgrown with weeds. Based on Deputy Holden’s experience with cattle, he believed the cows would not have left the complainant’s property to go to Rucks’ property unless they were coerced. Rucks had a feed trough on his property within 20 feet of the area where the fence was cut.

After searching the property with a drone, the six cows were located on Rucks’ land.

Bond will be set by the judge.

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