Victims seek return of stolen livestock following horse theft spree

Victims seek return of stolen livestock following horse theft spree

“We’re on a mission,” said Pamela Hayes. “We’re trying to bring these horses home.”

Pamela was referring to a number of horses still missing from the North End of Beaumont and around the area, stolen in the dead of the night by rustlers looking to make a quick buck by selling the victims’ highly valued steeds.

Pamela said the bandits stole her daughter’s therapy horse, Pistol, from Junior Stables on the North End of Beaumont off Bennett Road on July 4. It was sold as part of a package deal the buyer found – four horses for $500, according to Pamela. That’s approximately $125 per horse for livestock worth thousands.

Hailey’s horse and others stolen during the same event have since been recovered.

“Three horses were stolen that day,” Pamela said of the July 4 incident at Junior’s. “I retrieved all of them within 24 hours.”

However, other horses stolen from around the area still have not been found, and their owners are hoping to see them returned safely soon.

“There’s an epidemic in Jefferson County,” Pamela asserted.

Independence Day theft

‎Hailey Hayes, 15, suffers from Devic’s syndrome, also known as neuromyelitis optica, a condition consisting of the simultaneous inflammation and demyelination of the optic nerve and the spinal cord. The main symptoms of Devic’s syndrome are loss of vision and spinal cord function.

Hailey said she loves her horse pal Pistol and leans on him for support, literally and figuratively.

“He’s my therapy horse and my best friend,” Hailey described. “When I’m not feeling really good, he finds me something to brace against, and he calms me down. Working with him every day gives me the exercise I need so I can use my muscles.

“There’s no other horse like Pistol, I can tell you that. He’s one-of-a-kind. We’re a perfect match.”

Following the Independence Day horse theft, Hailey went on the news to plead for Pistol’s return. Her story resounded throughout the community. It was immediately picked up by national news entities and equine publications, including HorseChannel.com. Pamela said they received a call the very next day.

“I got a phone call at 7:45 a.m. the next day, and he told me he thought he had purchased my daughter’s horse,” Pamela recalled. “His name is Brandon Joseph. He was calling from Carencro, Louisiana. He said he had one there, and his brother had two others in Baton Rouge.”

Pamela said Joseph offered to return the horses to her, but she declined and went to pick up Pistol herself, giving Joseph $100 in compensation for his financial loss.

According to Pamela, the buyer described the seller as a tall, thin, black male with “big hair,” possibly dreadlocks, with a large tattoo on his arm, going by the name “Mike,” and driving a dark-colored Ford F-250 truck. The description was second-hand, she warned, so there could be some discrepancies.

Denise Hunter said one of her horses was stolen at the same time as Pistol and was returned safely to her. She said others have not been as lucky, and she hopes to see the rustlers brought to justice.

“Apparently, my horse was sold to a relative of whomever Pistol was sold to,” Hunter stated. “Thank goodness they were found so quickly.

“There are still people searching for their horses. I pray that they are all recovered in good health and that all parties involved in this madness are caught and punished accordingly.”

Hailey was elated to have Pistol back, and she told The Examiner on July 10 that Pistol is doing great, and Pamela said they are taking measures to try to keep thieves at bay or recover their family friend if he is ever stolen again. She said they are having Pistol chipped and tattooed, common practices used by horse owners to identify livestock.

Other horse thefts impacting the area

Britten Peewee Holt said two of his horses were stolen from stables in the North End of Beaumont on July 3 or July 4. And that’s not all that was taken from him over the holiday. His two dogs were stolen from his residence the very day he discovered his horses missing.

“I went to the barn and fed (them) on Monday and went home,” Holt explained. “Got up on Tuesday, went play basketball before school. When I got out of class, I went to the barn to feed and noticed that the horses weren’t in the stalls. The stall to my stud was broke down, and the stall to my gelding was open. Went to the pasture and walked around calling their names and no horses came to me.

“I called my brother to see if maybe he came and got them, and he said no. He came and helped me look for them again and still no horses. At that time, he told me to call the police. (I) left from the barn looking for horses to come home to my dogs being stolen.

“It hurt me so bad because they just aren’t pets; they’re family.”

Holt said he hopes thieves will return his dogs and horses safely, though he believes they are separate issues.

Weeks earlier, three of Kenneth Celestine’s horses were stolen from stables on Helbig Road.

“Our three horses was stolen June 15,” he told The Examiner. “Three bay horses – two standard-bred horses with tattoos #3D626. The other horse tattoo (is) D6P3Q.”

Celestine said one of the horses needs special care.

“I hope we get our baby back soon,” he remarked. “She is pregnant. She will have her baby in October.”

Contact local law enforcement

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Deputy Marcus McLellan said the thefts are occurring within the city of Beaumont, and the sheriff’s office is currently not investigating any horse thefts in the county. However, he explained that a JCSO Livestock Division detective has been working with the Beaumont Police Department on the cases of the missing horses.

The Beaumont Police Department confirmed there have been horse thefts in the area. Police ask that anyone with information about the horse thefts or suspects contact them by calling Crime Stoppers of Southeast Texas at (409) 832-TIPS (8477) or the police department, (409) 832-1234.

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