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Indiana police seize plane in ongoing investigation of Jamey Noel

Former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel .
Clark County Sheriff's Office
Former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.

Indiana State Police served a new warrant late last week for a 1958 Cessna plane as part of the ongoing criminal investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.

Noel was arrested Nov. 8 and charged with 15 felonies including theft and ghost employment following a nearly five-month investigation by Indiana State Police.

Initial warrants were served in August, and information released last week detailed nine additional warrants served in November.

Court records show Judge Larry Medlock signed a new order Thursday approving a warrant at PrivateFlite Aviation and Aircraft Specialists, based at the Clark Regional Airport in Sellersburg.

The document shows police were looking for a 1958 Cessna 172 fixed-wing plane owned by the Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association, which Noel has operated. State police now have the plane in their custody.

They also sought documents including purchase, maintenance, work orders and flight logs of the plane.

As part of the investigation, state police spoke with Clark County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Grube.

Grube told police that Noel had at one point started an aviation section of the sheriff’s office, which included one airplane and five helicopters from federal government surplus, and two additional planes paid for with sheriff’s office funds.

Grube said Noel also purchased a plane for personal use, which was housed with the sheriff’s office inventory at the Clark Regional Airport. He said the sheriff’s office received an outstanding fuel bill and believed Noel was using the county money for his personal plane.

Court records show Noel bought the plane for $25,000 in February 2022 from an individual, bringing two sheriff’s office employees to the sale. Police say the plane was registered in Noel’s name and paid for by Utica/New Chapel funds, with “equipment” on the check’s memo line.

They also say Noel had the plane repaired in Seymour, Indiana — paying the more than $16,000 bill from Utica/New Chapel. Another repair for more than $400 came from Noel and his wife’s personal checking account.

On Nov. 30, the manager at PrivateFlite Aviation contacted police and said the Cessna was there for annual inspection and maintenance.

A police review of Federal Aviation Administration records showed the aircraft was registered in Noel’s name as of August 2022. It was also listed in Noel’s name during part of the investigation, which started in June. The records show the plane was registered to the Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association as of this October.

Investigators noted the change in ownership from Noel to the Utica/New Chapel nonprofit was “after Mr. Noel was advised he was the suspect in a criminal investigation and numerous search warrants were served on his residence, pole barn and fire departments."

Previously reported allegations include that Noel used sheriff’s office employees to work on his personal properties and those of Utica/New Chapel.

Police also say he moved vehicles through the nonprofit for personal gain, that he and others retained government surplus equipment given to the sheriff’s office and that he used money from the jail’s commissary fund to pay the former Scott County sheriff for consulting work.

Noel was sheriff from 2015 to 2022. He’s also the Clark County Republican Party chair and leads the 9th Congressional District GOP.

Coverage of Southern Indiana is funded, in part, by Samtec Inc. and the Hazel & Walter T. Bales Foundation.

This story has been updated with additional information.

Aprile Rickert is LPM's Southern Indiana reporter. Email Aprile at arickert@lpm.org.

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