PAWNEE COUNTY — Two Kansas men appeared in the Pawnee County District Court, Tuesday for a Preliminary Hearing on one count of Felony Theft of property worth between $1,500 and $25,000, according to Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett.
Ruben Lopez-Lupercio, 42, and Axel Elian Gomez-Saldana, 24, both of Larned, are accused of stealing eleven heifers.
Evidence presented at the preliminary hearing indicated an investigation was opened after a State Cattle Brand Inspector recognized feedlot finished heifers attempting to be sold at the La Crosse sale barn on December 10, 2021.
The matter was then referred to the Attorney General’s Livestock/Brand investigation unit who determined some of the heifers were branded with a brand registered to a Pawnee County Feedlot.
With the assistance of the Pawnee County Sheriff’s Department, it was later determined that Lopez-Lupercio and Gomez-Saldana were employed as cowboys at the feedlot near Pawnee Rock, Kansas. They were arrested without incident at the feedlot on January 6, 2022, after the feedlot ownership decided to press charges, according to McNett.
Following the hearing, the magistrate judge determined the State had presented sufficient evidence to support the charge and bound the pair over to the higher court. Arraignment has been scheduled for September 15, 2022.