LARNED, Kan. (KAKE) - Two men who worked as cowboys at a central Kansas feedlot have been charged with stealing nearly a dozen head of cattle last year.

Pawnee County Attorney Doug McNett said Wednesday that 24-year-old Axel Elian Gomez-Saldana and 42-year-old Ruben Lopez-Lupercio are each charged with felony theft of property worth between $1,500 and $25,000.

The pair are accused of stealing 11 heifers. Evidence presented at a preliminary hearing on Tuesday 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, which determined some of the heifers were branded with a brand registered to a Pawnee County Feedlot.

McNett said investigators determined that Lopez-Lupercio and Gomez-Saldana were employed as cowboys at the feedlot near Pawnee Rock. They were arrested without incident at the feedlot on January 6 after the feedlot ownership requested charges be pressed.

Lopez-Lupercio and Gomez-Saldana are scheduled to be arraigned on September 15.