A Carbon County man pleaded guilty to stealing cows from a local farmer and then selling them for beef at a Lancaster County business.

Alan Christ Beck, 46, of Evergreen Drive, Lehighton, Mahoning Township, appeared before Senior Judge Richard W. Webb on Thursday to enter a plea to one count of theft, as a felony three.

Webb, upon hearing the information filed by police, said, "We don't get cattle rustling cases too often these days."

Beck admitted taking eight cows from the farm of Carlin Troxell on June 2, 2009, and then selling them at the New Holland Sales Stable, in New Holland. Township police said he sold four cows and received $2,407.13 and then sold the remainng four for $2,296.30 at the same site.

Defense Atty. Gerald M. Barr said his client gave Troxell a check for $10,000 to help cover the loss.

Assistant District Attorney Michael Greek told Webb there is a dispute over the value of the cows. He said the defendant sold the cows for beef but the owner used them as dairy cows for their milk.

Webb said he understands that the use of the cows does impact substantially on their value.

He accepted the plea but deferred sentencing and instructed the adult probation office to investigate the restitution matter and come up with a recommendation at the time of sentencing.