The case of the missing cattle from a farm in east-central Alberta is closed — as it turns out, the farmer simply made a clerical error.

The Alberta RCMP Livestock Investigations Unit said that 59 heifers were stolen from a property near Czar, a small town about 300 kilometres southeast of Edmonton.

After being asked to check his records again, the farmer discovered he accidentally added 59 heifers to his inventory list instead of 59 steers.

“We asked him to check his inventory lists again and he came back and said, 'wow, I double booked them into the records,'” said Cpl. Dave Heaslip, the livestock investigator who worked with the farmer.

“I had absolutely no reason not to believe the scenario where the cattle were,” Heaslip said. “It was very, very believable that someone could have backed a straight haul trailer in and removed them.”

Heaslip says there is an upside to this incident — farmers are now more aware of the value of their property.

“You’ve got to be able to positively identify your property — and cattle are no different.”