500 cows are stolen from a New Zealand farm.
Dairy cows stand in a cowshed waiting to be milked on a farm near Marburg, Germany May 18, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

A farmer who found himself short 500 cows recently in New Zealand is now claiming he was robbed, according to reports.

Authorities responded to a call at a South Island farm Tuesday and upon arrival discovered 500 cows had been stolen from the farmer’s property, Fox 5 reported. According to locals in the area, the cow theft is the biggest they’ve ever heard of in the country that’s home to some 10 million cows, which is more than double the estimated 4.4. million people that populate the nation.

The farmer would not speak to reporters regarding the bovine theft, but his friend Willy Leferink told Fox that the property owner was “absolutely gob smacked and deeply embarrassed” after discovering so many cow were stolen under his watch.

“If you had three-quarters of a million dollars go missing, you wouldn’t want to talk about it either,” Leferink said of the cattle, worth about 1,500 New Zealand dollars each.

Authorities doubt the robbery happened all in one night, and suggested that the cows, weighing more than half a ton each, were probably taken from the property over time. Leferink said the cows could have been taken from a herd of 1,300 near Ashburton. He also predicted the cows were probably taken in batches between early July, when they were last counted, and late August.

Police said the incident should be a warning to farmers of the consequences of not checking their fences and counting their cow stock regularly.

“It’s unlikely the theft of hundreds of animals could be completed at once, and is more likely that multiple thefts could be carried out over a period of time,” Senior Sgt. Scott Banfield said in a statement. "Farmers should also be keeping an eye out for unexpected signs of herding near their boundary lines too."

According to Leferink, a trailer-truck would have needed to be loaded 13 times over to relocate the cows from the property.