NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A new report by The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association says there was more livestock and ranch equipment stolen in 2012 than in previous years.
Nacogdoches County Sheriff Jason Bridges says ranch equipment thefts have already become a problem in the county this year.
"Here recently we just went out to the Wooden area with the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigation unit and recovered a tractor and trailer," said Bridges.
Back in February sheriff's deputies interrupted a theft in progress.
Bridges says 26-year-old Joey Smith and 23-year-old David Parker were arrested after authorities caught them in the process of allegedly stealing a tractor and a Bush Hog mower with another tractor.
"Farm equipment is a high value target. it can be easily sold and of course the value of it can range depending on equipment, you know pretty high,"said Bridges.
Bridges says sometimes people purchase stolen equipment without knowing it's stolen.
"So going back to the old saying if something is too good to be true to watch it so if somebody's trying to sell you something at a very cheap price, it's probably too good to be true so look into that," said Bridges.
The biggest thing farm equipment owners can do is document their purchases.
"What I would strongly encourage is to always have the serial number to any of your equipment. That's one of the problems that we've run into in the past. It's kind of hard to find these items sometimes because it can be off in the woods in a pasture somewhere once they're sold," said Bridges.
"I cannot harp on the importance of writing down your numbers and taking pictures because being a victim of a crime is somewhat like an accident, you never know when it could happen," Bridges.
Bridges says taking the keys out of your farm equipment, storing it out of sight and securing it if possible are the best ways to try and keep your equipment from being targeted by thieves.
Bridges says they have had some major cases of livestock theft in the past but none so far this year.