Horse hair thieves hit Rapid City area - KOTA Territory News

Horse hair thieves hit Rapid City area

T.J. Aisenbrey T.J. Aisenbrey

Imagine someone trespassing onto your property.

Their intentions aren't to steal, but to give your horse a hair cut.

Its more disturbing than it sounds, and law enforcement in several counties in Wyoming have seen more than 100 cases this year. Now, the disturbing trend has come to Rapid City.

"Its just like someone walking into your backyard and shaving your dog or cat," said T.J. Aisenbrey, the owner of six horses.
It's a crime that the horses in a secluded Cleghorn canyon pasture have experienced twice.
"You could definitely tell the mane and tail were cut. Last Wednesday the horses were nervous and then I realized even more was removed. I noticed the little 4 month old, her tail was also worked on. That hurt me a lot. [The tail] is a defensive thing, a protection thing for the horses. To protect them from the elements," said Aisenbrey.
If you're  wondering who or why someone would do this, the answer is simple. Horse hair does have a market, and its used to make many common items.

"Everything from jewelry, earrings, necklaces, wallet chains...just decorative stuff," said Dan Tribby, manager of Prairie Edge.

While its raw value is fairly low, investigators say it's not necessarily an easy crime to solve.
"Horse hair is difficult to track, its not individual, its difficult to identify. The theft appear to be random. We assessed it as probably a class one misdemeanor," said Captain Corey Brubakken with the Pennington county sheriff's office.
So who would benefit from the theft? Many say an experienced crafter or artist.
"You get into wonderful halters and lead ropes that can be made from the hair. Then you're talking thousands of dollars. So that part of it is where the value is. Definitely not in the craft supply end but on the finished product end. There's such a small amount of people who have the ability to do those crafts," said Tribby.
For horse owner Aisenbrey, the second theft in as little as two months has pushed him into costly action
"I am offering a reward to find these people and convict them. they shouldn't shouldn't be trespassing, or violating an animal," said Aisenbrey.
Until answers can be found, Aisenbrey advises others to remain vigilant.
"Is very difficult if you're not with your horse everyday to notice that its missing. And it could be and you're not aware of it. We need to find these people, we need to prosecute these people and I wish they would leave me and my horses and property alone," said Aisenbrey.

Aisenbrey is offering a $2,000 reward for information on the thefts.
Investigators in Wyoming are also having difficulty tracking down a motive or any suspects in their 100 plus cases. None have been found to date.

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