Eagle Point rancher Robert Borba was loading dog food and a camping tent into his truck and cattle trailer Friday morning at Walmart when he heard a woman screaming that someone was stealing her bicycle.

"I seen this fella trying to get up to speed on a bicycle," said the 28-year-old Borba, who was planning on helping brand cattle in California that afternoon. "I wasn't going to catch him on foot. I just don't run very fast."

Borba quickly brought out his horse, Long John, which he'd brought to help him with the cattle, from the back of his trailer.

The cowboy and his horse then chased after the alleged thief as the man, struggling with the gears, ditched the bike and attempted to flee on foot.

Borba said he grabbed his rope and let it fly, lassoing the man around his legs and causing him to tumble to the ground, dragging him like roped cattle to the end of the parking lot. Borba said the man then grabbed a tree near Carl's Jr. and attempted to break free, but Borba and Long John kept the rope taut.

The suspect's look of surprise at being chased by a man on horseback was priceless, Borba said.

The man asked him, "Do you have a badge to do this?" Borba said.

Borba called 911 and sat with the lassoed suspect for about 15 minutes until Eagle Point police arrived.

Eagle Point Sgt. Darin May identified the suspect as Victorino Arellano-Sanchez, 22, and described him as a transient from the Seattle area. 

"We've never had anyone lassoed and held until we got there," May said. "That's a first for me."

Arellano-Sanchez was arrested on a misdemeanor theft charge, according to jail records, and was lodged late Friday on $3,000 bail.

Borba's wife, Alyssa, said her husband was buying dog food and a tent so their four young daughters could camp outside while they helped friends brand cattle in Davis Creek, Calif. She described the capture as instinctual for her husband.

"It's probably second nature to him," Alyssa said.

The Borbas moved to Southern Oregon a couple of months ago. He'd grown up in Northern California and had moved around to areas that included Nevada and California before choosing to settle down in Oregon.

Borba said he had grown up competing in rodeos, but left the rodeo circuit to settle down because his "heart wasn't in it." He makes his living as a ranch hand and a rancher. 

"I use a rope every day, that's how I make my living," Borba said. "If it catches cattle pretty good, it catches a bandit pretty good."

Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.

 

  [View the story "Everyone loves a Horseback Hero" on Storify]