Authorities are tracking down reports that the champion barrel racing horse stolen from a farm near Davidsville in June may have been spotted in several states, including as far away as Oklahoma. But the sightings remain unconfirmed, frustrating both police and the horse's owner.

Conemaugh Township police Chief Vincent Zangaglia said there have been possible sightings in several states since the 20-year-old stallion went missing on June 12.

"Pretty much all over the country, but nothing has been confirmed," he said. Police in different states are helping to track down leads, he said.

"It's frustrating for us because we can't travel all over the country to follow up on leads," Zangaglia said.

The horse's owner, Joe Marisa, is holding out hope SHF Kiss This, also known as Newt, will be found.

"We don't know if they are true leads," he said. Marisa said he has been visiting horse auctions in different states but without luck.

"I went to an auction in Athens, Ohio, but my horse wasn't there," he said. "A lot of people are out of work, so they're stealing horses. It's getting pretty bad."

Marisa is offering $5,000 for the return of the horse, up from $2,500.

Newt was retired three years ago. Marisa said when Newt was in his prime, someone offered him $100,000 for the horse, but he turned that person down.

Newt is a buckskin American Quarter Horse and is registered with the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). A champion barrel race and rodeo horse, Newt has sired award-winning horses in the barrel-racing industry.

A report was filed with Stolen Horse International Inc., also know as NetPosse, the nation's lost and found for missing or stolen horses.

Debi Metcalfe, founder of Stolen Horse International Inc., said it's all about money.

"There are auctions every day," Metcalfe said in an internet broadcast. Metcalfe said, based on her experience, "most people don't care about the horse."

Chances of recovering a stolen horse diminish each day. But those like Metcalfe are determined to find stolen horses.

"If it's a month or a year, we don't give up," she said.

Patrick Buchnowski is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 532-5061. Follow him on Twitter @PatBuchnowskiTD.

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