Two calves were rescued after drivers spotted one of them trying to escape a Honda Civic trunk that was parked along Interstate 10 over the weekend.
The rescue happened about 8:30 a.m. PT Saturday after people spotted the car, which was parked on the south side of eastbound I-10 at Highland Springs Avenue in Beaumont, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Officials received 911 calls that "a cow was attempting to climb out of the trunk of a parked car," according to the CHP.
Officers arrived and found a second calf wedged in the backseat. Both calves had their hooves tied.
The calves were untied and officials haltered them to an oak tree in a grassy area, according to the CHP.
The Honda's driver fled before officers arrived and hasn't been identified.
Investigators say the car had fake registration tags, but the license plate and vehicle identification number showed it belonged to someone in Tulare County. It was not reported stolen and no one's tried to recover the car from a tow yard.
Officials moved the calves to a local ranch and a Riverside County Brand Inspector is trying to determine when and if they had been stolen before Saturday's discovery.
Anyone convicted of stealing livestock could be sentenced to up to a year in jail and fined thousands of dollars, according to the CHP.