Cattle Panels Become Hot Item Among Thieves

Authorities in Wagoner and Muskogee Counties are trying to corral a new type of rural crime.

Tuesday afternoon, Wagoner deputies arrested Michael L.R. Warren, 39, of Okay as a suspect in the recent theft of cattle panels.

These large metal fence panels are put up as temporary fencing on ranches statewide. Recently, land owners near Porter and Okay reported that several of their panels were stolen.

Investigator said Warren confessed to stealing some of them and told deputies where they'd been stashed.

"With the assistance of Muskogee County Deputies, Wagoner County Deputies recovered 27 cattle panels and 2 walk through gates belonging to Red Fork Investments. The Majority of the panels were identified with markings, but some of the panels had the identifications ground off and were in varied stages of painting," said Wagoner County Sheriff's major Gary Handley.

Deputies recovered a stolen trailer and tools in the same sting.

Sheriff Bob Colbert told the problem of cattle panel thefts is growing not only in his county, but in neighboring Muskogee County as well.

Colbert asks residents to come forward if they know information about those responsible for similar crimes.

Court records show Michael Warren faces charges of grand larceny and theft of vessel related to an earlier incident.