Ranchers and farmers are reporting an increase in theft of animals and produce. Some now employ perimeter detection devices to stop the thefts. One thieve was recently caught, thanks to a man hunting prairie dogs. A Moffat County, Colorado rancher suspected of violating state cattle branding statutes turned himself into authorities September 26. The 51-year-old Little Snake River man was booked into the Moffat County Jail on several felonies, including suspicion of theft, theft of certain animals, wrongful branding, and concealing strays. A warrant for his arrest was issued September 20 in Moffat County District Court. The man is suspected of being in possession of 36 cows and 31 calves belonging to nine different owners. He is also suspected of misbranding calves as his own. Authorities estimated the value of the stray cows and calves at $68,000, according to an arrest affidavit. The warrant followed a joint investigation by sheriffs office deputies and an inspector from the Department of Agriculture’s Brand Inspection Division. According to the affidavit, a man was hunting prairie dogs July 22 near Moffat County Road 110 when he noticed a cow with his brand among a herd of cattle belonging to the suspect. The man contacted a Colorado Brand Inspector. Of 831 cattle, authorities reported Pilgrim was in possession of 67 cows and calves allegedly belonging to other area ranchers.