As beef prices rise, cattle rustling is making a big comeback in parts of Tennessee and nearby Alabama.
Thieves recently stole a Wayne County rancher's cattle and equipment, resulting in a loss of nearly $30,000.
Victim Doug Gilchrist told Nashville's News 2 Investigates he last saw his cattle on his 200 acre ranch Saturday, however the next day he discovered his fence was damaged, his trailer was gone and 18 cows, valued at $1,200 each, were missing.
The 76-year-old man added this is the third time in the last year he has been the victim of cattle rustlers.
"It's just ruining me financially," he said.
According to Giles County Lt. Shane Hunter, cattle rustling is an easy crime of opportunity.
"There's a huge market now that cattle prices are high," he explained. "It is not a huge risk because most farmers don't tend to their cows at night. They are simply out there with nobody watching them and thieves can steal from one state and bring them over the line."
Hunter continued, "There is no process of whose cows are whose. Most cows are not tagged so you just go to a stock yard and sat those are my cows and you get a check."
On Monday, authorities told Nashville's News 2 Investigates there was a break in Gilchrist's most recent theft.
Three men driving a white Dodge diesel truck pulled up with Gilchrist's cattle trailer and dumped it behind a Giles County business just two miles from the sheriff's department.
Authorities from both Tennessee and Alabama are thrilled with the possible break in the case because they believe the truck, which has a big Cummings sticker on the bottom of the back window and a dent on the bottom right front door, could be key in solving other cattle rustling cases.
Anyone with information on the owner of the truck or the truck's whereabouts is urged to call the Giles or Wayne counties sheriff's departments at 931-363-2460 or 931-722-3615.