Oregon cowboy lassoes attempted bike thief

EAGLE POINT, Ore. -- Twenty-eight-year-old Robert Borba is one of the last of a kind; A real, honest-to-goodness, cow roping cowboy.

Robert works at a ranch outside Eagle Point, Oregon. But he recently gained notoriety not for his prowess in the cow corrals, but because of what he did among the cart corrals of a Walmart parking lot.

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Robert Borba on his horse

CBS News

This past June, Robert says he moseyed over to the Walmart for some dog food, and on the way out he heard a woman screaming.

“’Stop him! Stop him! He stole my bike! He stole my bike!’ And I kind of look around and all of a sudden this guy goes whizzing by me on a bicycle,” Robert said.

As security cameras show, there was no way to catch him on foot. So the cowboy did what cowboys do. He saddled up to save the day, armed with little more than a lasso.

“A couple swings and then I threw it at him, just like I would a steer,” Robert said. 

“He’s like, ‘What are you doing, man? You got a badge?’ And I’m like, ‘No, I ain’t got a badge,’” he said.

Robert called 911 himself, describing to the incredulous operator how he was able to detain the suspect.

“We got a guy who just stole a bike here at Walmart. I got him roped and tied to a tree,” he said on the call.

“What!?” the operator said.

“I got him roped from a horse and he’s tied to a tree.”

The cavalry arrived moments later, led by Eagle Point police officer Chris Adams.

“I looked up and from the horse there was a rope connected to the ankle of a gentleman on the ground holding onto a tree,” Adams said.

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Robert Borba, right with lassoed suspect

Lawns of Medford

At the left in the above photo, you can see the suspect on the ground, roped and tied like steer headed for the pen.

John Wayne couldn’t have it done better.

“I’d take him by my side any day,” Adams said.

“I told the cop, I said, ‘Man, you guys ought to pick up a rope and throw that gun away. You might have better luck with it.’ He started laughing,” Robert said.

He said taking action to stop a thief was just the right thing to do.

“If it was my wife or my little girl, I would hope somebody would help her if I wasn’t around,” he said.

Heroes, like cowboys, are getting harder to find, especially modest ones like Robert, who want absolutely nothing in return.

When it was, over police say all Robert asked for was his rope back. He coiled it up, tipped his hat, and then rode off into the sunset.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.