Hall pleads guilty to stealing cattle & farm equipment | TSLN.com

Hall pleads guilty to stealing cattle & farm equipment

Bob Mercer
Rapid City Journal Correspondent

Call it a modern-day cattle rustling tale, complete with stolen calves, illegal online sales, and a posse of state law enforcement officers all playing a part.

Kyle Alan Hall, 27, has pleaded guilty to stealing cattle from South Dakota ranchers and selling them on the Craigslist online sales site, as well as selling stolen farm equipment to a pawn shop.

Circuit Judge John Brown sentenced Hall this week to seven years in the state penitentiary for grand theft involving 11 calves taken from a Hyde County ranch where he worked as a hired hand. In all, 31 fresh-born calves were stolen in the case.

The judge suspended three years of the sentence provided that Hall pay restitution to rancher William Klein of rural Gann Valley and four other victims who bought some of the stolen calves.

Hall, who was convicted of receiving stolen property in a Pennington County case in 2011, pleaded guilty in January to stealing calves from Klein. The judge sentenced Hall on Monday.

The case against Hall surfaced when Klein and his ranch foreman noticed tools, equipment and calves were missing. Hall reportedly admitted to them on Oct. 20, 2014, that he took the tools, equipment and five calves.

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DCI agent Jason Jares said in an affidavit that he found the tools and equipment at National Pawn in Mitchell one day later, and discovered that the items had been pawned in August, he said. Jares then arrested Hall.

Chad Mosteller, an investigator with the attorney general's office, said the investigation found 31 fresh-born calves had been stolen from ranchers. Four of the calves died and 27 were recovered, he said.

"The restitution is still in litigation," Mosteller said.

People in Ree Heights, Summit, Brookings and Highmore bought the 11 calves stolen from Klein, according to Sara Rabern, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office.

The judge is still working on the restitution order. Other conditions for Hall to be released from parole include paying for his court-appointed attorney and court costs.

The state Division of Criminal Investigation handled the cattle rustling case after receiving a request for assistance from Hyde County Sheriff Michael Volek.

The conviction of Hall is one of the first major rustling cases under the current arrangement between DCI and the state Brand Board.

The state board previously employed its own investigators. The board supported placing the investigators in DCI, which is an arm of the state attorney general's office.

Under the arrangement with DCI, there have been three convictions so far and 18 cases are active, Mosteller said.

–Reprinted with permission from Rapid City Journal

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