Posted at: 10/23/2013 5:39 PM
By: Katie Eldred
Oronoco Man Charged with Turn of the Century Crime
(ABC 6 NEWS) -- It's something out of an old wild west movie as an Oronoco man is facing charges of cattle rustling. The statute that puts those charges in place is as old as this state.
Since farming started in this area a lot has changed including the way thieves steal cattle.
"It’s not like you see on TV thieves on horses with bandanas across their nose," said Olmsted County Attorney Mark Ostrem.
But not the laws against cattle rustling have not.
"It just goes back to our very rural roots and taking the cattle was something even more grievous and just considered different than a regular theft," said Ostrem.
An Oronoco man found out about that the hard way. The Olmsted County Sheriff's Department says he stole seven of his father’s cattle and sold them. The dad come home and found the check for $5,000 dollars and noticed he was missing the cattle.
The son confessed and now faces charges of both cattle rustling and theft.
So why is not just theft charges? Why the cattle rustling charge? Ostrem says like many others laws it's simply slipped through the cracks.
"One of the things our legislature does well is create new laws, one of the things they don't do is purge out old ones, I'm not sure it needs to go away, but as we've seen over the years the books seem to grow," said Ostrem.
But Governor Dayton has already dubbed 2014 the "unsession," because he wants legislators to spend much of their time eliminating old, outdated state laws rather than adding new ones.
At the Olmsted County History Center we found several old stories of cattle rustling in Fillmore County. Including one where Hamilton Village threatened lynch the suspects.
While the penalty today is certainly not as serious, it's still relatively steep. Fines up to $20,000 dollars and ten years in prison.