CHESTERFIELD, S.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Frank Howey has been farming since he was 9 years old. He owns several properties under Howey Farms across two states.
On any given day, he could probably be found with his son tending to the land and livestock in either Chesterfield or Union County.
“We have several thousand (cows),” Howey said.
He raises black angus cows commercially. The breed is so popular that investigators say two Chesterfield County men stole 17 from Howey’s farm near Ruby.
The value of that cattle? $40,000.
Chesterfield County deputies say they got a tip from someone close to the suspects. That tipster said 29-year-old Jonathan “Kipp” Tyner and 30-year-old Richard Owensby were the rustlers.
“They actually used my facilities to catch the cows and then loaded them on onto a trailer,” Howey described. “They had borrowed from someone else and maybe another trailer that they already owned.”
Deputies arrested the men, charging them each with larceny and 17 felony counts of cattle rustling. Under state law, each count can lead to a 10-year sentence.
“The sheriff has been in law enforcement for 30-plus years,” Howey said. “He’s never seen a case of cattle rustling. And in the old days, you got hung.”
Howey says his specially bred cows sell for about $2,000 a piece. Deputies say the suspects had already sold a black angus for $560 by the time they were caught.
“It’s not right to steal someone’s livelihood,” Howey said. “I hope they get the maximum sentence.”
Only 11 of the stolen 17 cows have been retrieved as of Thursday night, and four are still on the loose.
He says something like this has never happened to him in all of his years of farming — but he thanks the community for stepping in to help him.