THEFT & LAW Law Enforcement Tips
Prevent Trailer and Tack Theft
Odds are, if you haven’t had a trailer or saddle stolen, you know someone who has. Trailers and what they haul are popular targets for thieves, both at home and off your property. If your trailer, saddle or other equipment are stolen, could you provide descriptions and identifying information to law enforcement or prove ownership? Before you load up for the next day of working calves or trail riding, make sure you and your property are protected.
Saddles, tack and equipment
Take pictures of your saddles, bridles, bits, spurs and other equipment. Record any serial, model or make numbers and keep this information in a safe place. A brown saddle is just another brown saddle until it’s your custom hand-tooled show saddle, and it’s missing.
Mark your saddles, bridles and other equipment with your driver’s license and state or similar ID in an inconspicuous place such as on a saddle’s tree, on the inside flap of a fender or under the skirt. This goes for any equipment or trailer accessories as well, like jacks, stands or tools.
Don’t leave your barn and tack room unlocked, even when you’re at home. Thieves often take advantage of rural settings with few witnesses, often during the day. This goes for trailer doors, as well, especially if that is where you store saddles, ropes or other riding equipment.
Don’t leave trailer doors unlocked when traveling. All it takes is an unguarded moment for a thief to strike, whether you are stopped to eat or parked at a trailhead.
Consider making your trailer unique with a custom paint job, decals, stripes or other distinguishing marks to make it less appealing to thieves. It will also make identification straightforward, especially if it’s something that cannot be easily removed or changed. If your trailer looks like every other trailer in the parking lot, it will be easier for a thief to evade detection when they hook up and haul it off.
Take photos or videos of your trailer from all angles and record the model information, a full description, VIN, license number and other identification. Keep this information in a place you can access quickly, such as in a secure place online, in your phone or elsewhere, in case you need to get it quickly to law enforcement.
Locks and alarms are not only smart, they’re a good deterrent to a thief looking to make a quick buck. Make it more trouble and they’ll likely keep moving to another victim that’s less of a hassle. Wheel locks are especially effective for keeping your trailer immobile, no matter where it’s parked.
Brand your horse and make sure your brand is recorded with the county clerk’s office. Even if you only have horses, that brand must be registered.
Take good quality pictures of your horse from all angles. While many horses can be described as sorrel with a strip or star, a clear picture of how your horse’s markings are uniquely shaped can turn it into a positive identification. Make sure copies of the pictures and any papers are easily accessible, such as stored in a secure location online, and not only on your phone or in a drawer at home.
Take a few steps to prepare and defend yourself and you’ll be less likely to fall victim to thieves.
“Special Ranger Tips” is excerpted monthly from The Cattleman magazine.