PHOTO – Cows Lead Officers to Suspect's Hiding Spot: 'Book 'Em, Elsie!'

Police in North Carolina got some unexpected help from a herd of cows while trying to capture a suspect on Tuesday.

When 34-year-old Joshua Minton allegedly fled from officers during a traffic stop, the situation turned into a pursuit with police and deputies from the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office trying to catch him, the Town of Boone Police Department wrote in a social media post on Thursday.

The suspect ditched his car in the Deep Gap area, running into what the agency described as an “undeveloped area.”

Because of his “fast and reckless driving” authorities were unable to pinpoint his location, the department continued:

As officers began to search the area they received some unexpected, but welcomed assistance from some local cows. Apparently cows do not want suspected criminals loitering in their pasture and quickly assisted our officers by leading them directly to where the suspect was hiding. The cows communicated with the officers as best they could and finally just had the officers follow them to the suspect’s location.

News Release: On May 09, 2023, a suspect later identified as Joshua Russell Minton, age 34, of Millers Creek, NC, fled…

Posted by Town of Boone Police Department on Thursday, May 11, 2023

Following the incident, Boone Police Lt. Bobby Creed told reporters, “You can’t make it up. It’s rare and it’s pretty cool,” according to ABC News.

However, one resident explained the cows’ behavior was not unusual because they were probably hungry.

“That’s pretty normal with a human in the field. They expect feed,” Celia Roten said:

Social media users were quick to offer their comments on the story, one person writing, “That will definitely keep them off of somebody’s plate.”

“Those cows were on a ‘steak out’!!” someone else commented, while another said, “Book em, Elsie!”

One user commenting on the photo of the cows said, “Police say they’ve beefed up their patrols.”

The department expressed gratitude for the cows’ help and jokingly noted it was examining the possibility of creating a “Bovine Tracking Unit” for the department.

However, officials would have to consider whether cows could help in other areas of law enforcement or simply finding suspects, and it would also have to determine if cows were more cost-effective than K-9s.

Meanwhile, Mitten’s charges include a single count of felony flee/elude arrest with a motor vehicle, driving with a license revoked, and disorderly conduct.

He was given a $20,000 secured bond and scheduled to appear in court on June 28.


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