MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Tractors, backhoes, All Terrain Vehicles, power tools, more than 80 head of cattle and 17 calves are just some of the property seized in an undercover stolen property sting. In all more than half a million dollars in property is now in state possession.
Alabama Commissioner of Agriculture and Industries Ron Sparks made the announcement Tuesday after "Operation Giddy up and Go" came to completion.
The operation included broad support from around the state, including 15 Alabama counties and even one from Florida.
"The last six months have been exceptional for our investigations team," said Sparks. "Not only are they solving crimes, they are recovering property that has been missing for years. As the economy has worsened, the number of cattle and property thefts has gone up tremendously as unscrupulous people try to make a quick buck off the backs of hardworking citizens. So many farmers and business owners have been hurt by these thieves.
Investigators worked for months on the case, seizing numerous stolen items, untaxed liquor, moonshine and even drugs. The state even made a little history for itself in the process using DNA profiling.
DNA evidence came in handy for authorities after they came across, and verified ownership, of at least five of the 18 head cattle seized at the Montgomery Stockyard. According to Sparks it was the first investigation in Alabama history where DNA testing was used to identify stolen cattle.
In all, nine people were arrested during the sting operation. However, suspects' names are not being release at this time as the investigation continues.