TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Jerome man is facing charges for stealing cattle, he appeared in court on Thursday, August 11.
"Cattle rustling doesn't make the news very often, but it's a real and present danger to our state's cattlemen and ranchers. Just like someone's stolen car, stolen livestock hurts a family and its business," said Mark Killian, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture, in a recent release. "We investigate theft and abuse of livestock daily. It's part of our job to protect the people who invest in and care for the animals that someday will provide food for our families."
According to officials with the AZ Dept. of Agriculture, Jerry Paul Vojnic, 18, was seen at a Sun Valley auction with two heifer calves back in April. Officers questioned Vojnic because the calves had recently been rebranded and he could not produce the proper ownership papers to show them. The calves were then impounded.
The investigation took place in several Arizona counties and included a search warrant for the Vojnic's family ranch in Perkinsville, AZ. Investigators discovered the calves belonged to a nearby ranch and they were returned to their owner.
A Navajo County Grand Jury indicted the 18-year-old in July on charges of trafficking stolen property, forgery, perjury, and theft. Vojnic is expected back in court in September.
The incident is part of an active criminal investigation. Anyone with knowledge of the incident is asked to call the Department of Agriculture at (623) 445-0281.