May 17, 2017
By Debra Davis
A Cherokee County jury convicted a Boaz man last week in connection with stealing nearly $20,000 worth of cattle from William Camper and Brodie Pack in June 2014.
Michael Chad Stephens, 35, was convicted of Receiving Stolen Property First Degree in connection with stolen Charolais cattle taken from a pasture near his Etowah County home.
About a year after the theft, in June 2015, an Etowah County investigator learned the missing cattle were on a Cherokee County farm. Special Agents Ira J. Whitehead and Tim Mathews of the Alabama Agricultural and Rural Crime Unit (ARCU), a division of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA), assisted the local investigator in the case.
“When first questioned, the owner of the Cherokee County farm where the stolen cattle were discovered denied knowing or purchasing cattle from Stephens,” said ARCU’s Lt. Scott Lee. “Later, however, the victims identified several of their stolen cows on the farm.”
WEIS Radio in Centre reported on the trial and quoted Deputy District Attorney Scott Lloyd as saying, “I told the jurors in the opening statement that they might feel like a jury from the Wild West because what we had for them to hear was ‘an ol’ timey cattle-rustlin’ case.’”
Lloyd also reportedly told jurors the cattle sold for such a low price it was obvious they were stolen.
Lee said a case is pending against the suspect who purchased the cattle from Stephens. The stolen cattle included eight cows, two calves and a bull, which sold for about half their estimated value.
To report rural crime, call ARCU at 1-855-75-CRIME or visit ARCU.Alabama.gov.