- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 2, 2002

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) A Pennsylvania man carried off two dozen calves weighing as much as 120 pounds each during nighttime raids on several dairy farms, selling half at a livestock market before he was arrested, police said.

"He probably slung them over his shoulder and carried them out," Detective Chuck Jenkins said. "There aren't too many people who would work so hard to steal something."

Robert S. Painter, who stands 6-foot-5 and weighs 180 pounds, remained jailed yesterday in Bedford, Pa., in lieu of $75,000 cash bond. Mr. Painter, 38, of Needmore, Pa., lifted the heifers from their outdoor pens at night during the past three weeks, police said.

Pennsylvania state troopers arrested Mr. Painter on Wednesday at the Belleville Livestock Market near State College, Pa., where police said he had sold about a dozen heifers taken from two Frederick County farms. He had planned Wednesday to sell 12 more that were stolen during the weekend in Montgomery County, Detective Jenkins said.

Most of the animals, which weighed between 75 and 120 pounds and are valued at $500 or more apiece, have been recovered, Sheriff James Hagy said.

Police recovered two of four calves stolen from James E. Noffsinger's farm near Frederick.

"I thought mine were gone for good," Mr. Noffsinger said yesterday.

He recognized them immediately although they were not tattooed or tagged. "It's just like your family pet. You feed them and tend to them, and you know they're yours."

Mr. Noffsinger said that since the thefts he has tattooed all his calves at birth.

Gene Glick of the Belleville Livestock Market said he and his staff gladly assisted police in making the arrest and tracking down animals that had been sold to other farmers.

"I guess you could say we're a victim as much as anybody else is," Mr. Glick said. "We don't need that kind of repeat business."

Mr. Painter used to live in the same area of southern Frederick County where the thefts occurred, police said. He also was wanted in connection with the theft of nearly $200,000 worth of lumber and building supplies recovered last year in Charles Town, W.Va.

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