FILER • A former employee at an elk ranch west of Twin Falls was charged with stealing elk bull semen, artificially inseminating elk at another ranch and keeping the profits.
Brandon Allen Eldredge, 30, of Filer was arraigned in Twin Falls County Magistrate Court on Friday on one felony count of grand theft.
The theft occurred in 2011 and was discovered the following year while the owners of Early Morning Elk Ranch took inventory from the previous year, a police report said.
“It took a while to get to the point where we were comfortable filing charges,” Twin Falls County Prosecuting Attorney Grant Loebs said Tuesday.
A previous case against Eldredge accusing him of stealing and selling antlers from the Early Morning Elk Ranch was filed in March 2013 and dismissed October of that year.
The owners of Early Morning Elk Ranch told police Eldredge was their employee and used elk bull semen that belonged to the ranch to artificially inseminate elk cows at White Peaks Elk Farm, court documents said. White Peaks Elk Ranch confirmed that Eldredge was paid for artificially inseminating their elk cows, but employees there believed Eldredge was authorized by his employer to sell them the semen.
White Peaks paid Eldredge $3,000 for the semen, while Brad Thompson, who Eldredge said was his brother-in-law, was paid $2,950 for performing the artificial insemination, court records showed. Police tracked down $1,560 of Eldredge’s check, which he used to purchase money orders and pay off debts; the other $1,440 was unaccounted for.
Loebs’ office filed the case Jan. 22 and ordered a summons for Eldredge; when Eldredge didn’t respond to the summons, a warrant was issued for his arrest.
The first warrant was returned in August without being served; a second warrant was issued in September and was served Nov. 17.
Eldredge was released on $2,500 bond and a preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 27.