FRESNO — A prized rodeo saddle that was first reported stolen in North Platte, Neb. back in 2002 has been discovered all the way in Fresno County.
Fresno County sheriff’s spokesman Chris Curtice said sheriff’s authorities last week received a phone call from the North Platte Police Department regarding a report of a stolen saddle being sold on the internet.
Thursday morning, Curtice confirmed that the saddle, which was handed out during a significant Wyoming rodeo event, was located in the 28000 block of Tollhouse Avenue in Fresno. The saddle belonged to former North Platte resident Sandra Utter, who won possession after being named “Miss Wyoming Rodeo 1990.” The saddle was meant to commemorate the rodeo event.
“Last week, Utter, who now lives in Kansas, was contacted by a friend who saw the saddle for sale on the internet,” Curtice said. “She contacted North Platte PD who, in turn, contacted the sheriff’s office.”
That item was one of several possessions that was first reported stolen by Utter during the burglary of a North Platte storage unit back in August 2002. Curtice confirmed that the residents of the Tollhouse home were not involved in the burglary of Utter’s items. It was also revealed that the residents first came across the saddle down in the south valley.
“It is my understanding that they purchased the saddle at a horse auction in Bakersfield years ago,” Curtice said. “They were unaware that the saddle had been stolen years earlier.”
Now that the saddle has been recovered, detectives are currently making arrangements to have the possession shipped back to Utter.