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Search Continues For Ponies Pilfered From SW Miami-Dade Ranch

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE (CBS4) -- The Miami-Dade Police Department continues to search for suspects who stole two popular ponies from a Southwest Miami-Dade youth ranch that teaches young children how to ride.

The kids who attend the camp and look forward to riding the ponies are heartbroken.

"I hope we find the ponies," said camper Stephanie Diaz.

According to Carrie and Wayne Hersberger, the barn managers at the Circle C Youth Ranch at Westwood Christian School a group of men entered the property in the middle of the night on June 30th and stole Rusty, a 10-year-old Bae Gelding and Sundae, a 5-year-old tri-colored Pinto Mare.

"In the dark of night these people came in when the camp was closed," said Carrie Hershberger. There weren't any children here."

The ponies were simply led off the property and nobody has seen them since. Now, it's the children who are impacted the most. They were used every day during camp for more than 150 preschoolers.

"I think it's terrible because my little brother, he loves to ride the ponies and when I was little I loved to ride the ponies," said Diaz. "I loved the ponies. It's terrible. I know all the ponies here and I love them all."

Even Stephanie's dad, Joel Diaz, said he used to enjoy pony rides at the camp as well.

"I rode the ponies back in the day. New they have the ponies for my children," said Joel Diaz.

Witnesses told the Hershbergers they saw the ponies being hauled away from their pasture but didn't realize what was going on.

"They said there were three gentlemen chasing the ponies and they had ropes around their necks and when they were asked why they had the ponies they said we are here to catch our ponies that got out," said Hershberger.

The entire property is under surveillance but Hershberger said the thieves disabled all the cameras before fleeing with the innocent animals.

Carrie Hersberger fears for the safety of the ponies and said she hopes they don't end up on somebody's dinner plate.

Staff at the ranch, parents and children are desperate to bring Rusty and Sundae back home.

"My son loves horses, loves ponies and it's something that is hard to explain to them, why they're missing," said parent Maria Claveerie.

Each pony is valued at about $500-$1,000 each.

The SPCA rescued both ponies and then allowed the youth ranch to adopt them. The SPCA is now offering a $500 reward for information that leads to the safe return of both ponies. No questions asked.

You can call the Miami-Dade Police Department with information 305-476-5423.

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