PITTSBURG COUNTY, Okla. (KXII) -- A Texoma man's tip leads authorities to catch a cattle rustler in the act. News 12 met with the 90 year-old rancher who's thankful he didn't lose his livelihood.
It happened at a pasture off Earnest Cook Road late Monday night. Investigators say the livestock in the pasture were the targets.
"Not happy that it happened, but happy that these fellows go on the ball," said ranch owner, John Cook.
Cook, 90, has owned this cattle ranch in Pittsburg County for decades.
On Sunday, an anonymous tip called in to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Law Enforcement Unit, prevented his cattle from being stolen.
It was a Texoma man who made the tip. His name and location is not being reported to protect his identity. Ronnie Robbins knew that he approached and asked if he wanted to buy some stolen cattle.
On Sunday, he called investigators who set up a sting to catch him in the act.
"He was going to sell these cattle to somebody and we wanted that somebody to be us in order for Mr. Cook to not lose his livelihood," said Chief Agent of the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture Law Enforcement Unit, Jerry Flowers.
Agents went undercover posing as buyers and met with Robbins a day later who told them he'd be willing to sell two dozen head for $600 a pair and told the buyers to meet him back at the pasture after dark.
"Immediately jumped out of his truck with bolt cutters and cut the lock," said Flowers.
Little did Robbins know, Pittsburg County deputies and other agents were watching the crime unfold.
"He's got them pinned up, he's got them locked up, he's now busted out the lock to allow us in so basically now the crime has been committed," said Flowers. "Agent (Jason) Smith basically just grabbed him by the shoulder and explained to him we were special agents with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and, 'You, sir are under arrest,' " Agent Flowers said.
The Cooks told us they knew Robbins because they would give him odd jobs around their ranch.
"So I had him out fixing the fences and doing various other things," said Cook. "He knew that property out there."
Robbins has been charged with three counts of larceny of domestic animals.
If convicted, Robbins could face up to 30 years behind bars.