Every Tuesday, Jim Wells County Livestock Investigator Aubrey Harper makes a trip to the auction barn on South Highway 281 his normal routine on March 20 led him to discover six stolen cattle.

According to Harper, he was notified that six young heifers at the auction barn had been reported stolen to the Harlingen Police Department.

Through the investigation Harper discovered that the man who sent the cattle to the local auction barn bought the cattle in Harlingen with no knowledge of the livestock being stolen, Harper stated.

The cattle owner was able to identify them through photographs. The animals were not branded or tagged, and had a total value of $2,550.

"Cattle rustling is alive and well," said JWC Sheriff Daniel Bueno. "When livestock is stolen it usually takes two or three hours before they leave the area. The owners are lucky they were able to recover the cattle."

Harper urges ranchers and farmers to brand or tag their livestock for cases such as this one. Only about 96 percent of livestock, if branded, are ever recovered.

No arrest has been made. The investigation is ongoing.