Wendy Busacca snapped this photo of some of the family’s Suffolk sheep grazing, before they were stolen.A WELL-PLANNED and brazen heist of more than $10,000 worth of livestock is a “kick in the guts” for a Toolangi family.
Last Tuesday morning, John Busacca discovered 76 of their Suffolk sheep, including ewes, lambs and two rams, one of which was their daughter Emily’s pet, were gone from the high country property. These stolen sheep make up about three-quarters of the Busacca family’s flock
Investigations into the well-executed theft are ongoing, but John’s wife Wendy doubts they will be recovered.
“The sheep had ear-tags, but they’ll just cut them out, and we’ve alerted the abattoirs to the PIC numbers,” she said.
“It’s a bit of a kick in the guts — we do all the hard work taking care of the animals, feeding them, shearing them, we can’t just go away for a weekend because we’ve got to take care of the animals, and then someone else walks in a reaps the benefits.”
Detective senior constable Andrew Dunsford, with Alexandra Crime Investigation Unit, said the theft of a whole mob of sheep was uncommon in the area.
“We’ve had the occasional case of couple of sheep stolen in my time here, but for a whole mob of sheep to be stolen is very unusual,” Det Snr Cst Dunsford said.
A shaken and frustrated Mrs Busacca said the first clue something was amiss was when Mr Busacca checked on two bulls recently delivered to the farm and found them in a different paddock. He then noticed the stock yards, which are not visible from the house, were not as he had left them.
He then checked on the flock of black-faced Suffolk sheep, and found most of the flock was missing.
“Basically, they came in the middle of the night, they knew where to open the gate (which is not on a main road), and took wire from one of our sheds ,” Mrs Busacca said.
“It was very well planned, either someone knows us and the farm, or they had canvassed the property on another occassion.
“Another creepy thing is the lengths they went to cover their tracks — they’d moved the sheep through other gates to get them to the yards to load them into their vehicles, but they’d closed the boundary fences because otherwise our neighbours would have alerted us because we don’t use the driveway.
“We were here asleep, and we thought it couldn’t happen to us.”
The thieves allegedly cut through padlocks on the gate and also avoided the cameras including the infrared cameras the family has set up in other parts of the farm.
Det Snr Cst Dunsford said the number of sheep stolen supports the possibility that two vehicles were used and the people behind the robbery also used dogs to round up the sheep.
He said the police were talking to people in the industry and continuing the investigation.
Det Snr Cst Dunsford said the heist demonstrated the importance of observing stock and regularly counting and properly identifying them. He said farmers should also consider installing CCTV cameras.
Also last week, the Victorian Farmers Federation received so many calls about cattle thefts, that they issued a letter to their livestock members urging them to be alert to the issue.
Members were reminded to ensure record keeping and correct National Livestock Identification (NLIS) details were up to date.
Members were also encouraged to close and padlock gates that provide access to the property and locate loading ramps and yards in clear sight.
Farmers are encouraged to report any unusual transport, livestock sales or activity in their area to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit
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