Israel Police arrested a Palestinian man suspected of stealing a herd of goats, near the West Bank settlement of Kochav Hashahar on Monday, according to a Israel Police spokesperson.
The police received a complaint during the night between Sunday and Monday that the goat herd belonging to the owner of a farm near the settlement of Kochav Hashahar was stolen overnight.
Dozens of goats stolen in the night
People came to the farm and stole dozens of goats from their barn during the night, according to the complaint.
The police then began an investigation into the theft and carried out searches throughout the area.
Around Monday noon, a community policeman identified a Palestinian man leading a herd of 15 goats near Kochav Hashahar.
The policeman stopped the suspect and after seeing identification markings and chips in the goat's ears, called a veterinarian to the scene.
The veterinarian then analyzed and identified the chips as belonging to the same goats that had been stolen the night before.
The suspect was subsequently detained and arrested, and the goats were returned to their owner.
Herds of goat and sheep are stolen regularly, and only in rare cases do the perpetrators get caught. Criminals caused millions of dollars in damages to Israeli farmers over the course of 2022, preliminary data from the HaShomer HaChadash organization shows.
In 2021 the most common crime was petty theft, followed by vandalism. The cattle, sheep and goat industry suffered the most damage, amounting to 23 crimes per farmer annually on average.
According to Israel’s Border Police and data published by the State Comptroller’s Office in 2017, most agricultural crimes are perpetrated by organized crime groups, with many originating in the Palestinian Authority.
MAYA MARGIT/THE MEDIA LINE contributed to this story.