HOLBROOK – A Jerome Arizona man appeared in court to face charges of stealing cattle Thursday. Department of Agriculture officers found Jerry Paul Vojnic with two heifer calves at a Sun Valley auction in April. The officers questioned Vojnic because the calves, which are worth $1,164, had been re-branded recently. When Vojnic could not produce acceptable ownership papers, the department impounded the calves.
“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 Department of Agriculture. “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.”
The Navajo County Grand Jury indicted 18-year-old Vojnic in July on the charges of Trafficking Stolen Property, Forgery, Perjury, and Theft. The investigation extended into multiple Arizona counties and included seeking a search warrant from Yavapai County Superior Court to look for evidence on the Vojnic’s family ranch in Perkinsville. Vojnic is scheduled back in court on September 29th.
The investigation showed the calves belonged to a nearby ranch and officers returned the calves.
This incident is currently an active criminal investigation. The public is encouraged to notify the Department at (623) 445-0281 if they have any information related to the incident.