Deputies are investigating possible cattle rustling at ranches near Carlsbad, N.M.
The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports that Eddy County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Matt Hutchinson said it's the first time he's seen cattle stolen from area pastures on such a large scale.
Hutchinson says cattle are allowed to roam on the roadway and side of the road in New Mexico, which is one of the few remaining open range states.
That makes the cattle an easy target for rustlers.
Rancher Stacey Mills says he has taken about $70,000 worth of losses since December, when cows and calves began disappearing from his 120 sections of open range land.
Mills says about 16 cows were missing from his pasture in the beginning of April and no carcasses have been found.