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New Jamey Noel warrants allege suspicious vehicle trades, stolen equipment and funds

The exterior of a fire/EMS station in Utica.
Aprile Rickert
Indiana State Police served seven new warrants Friday at fire and EMS stations associated with former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.

Information from the latest search warrants in the ongoing investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel details accusations of “suspiciously transferred or sold” vehicles and stolen equipment and funds from the sheriff’s office.

Indiana State Police served seven new search warrants Friday at fire and EMS stations in Clark and Floyd counties, as part of the criminal investigation of Jamey Noel, the former Clark County Sheriff and head of Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association, also known as New Chapel EMS.

Noel was charged in November with 15 felonies including corrupt business influence, theft and ghost employment — a result of the investigation ISP started in June.

There have now been 35 publicly known search warrants served in the case.

Investigators were seeking information on all vehicles on the property owned by Utica/New Chapel, as well as to search and document vehicles “[transferred], sold, or stolen from the Clark County Sheriff's Department” to the nonprofit.

Police were also looking for any radio equipment and United States government surplus equipment belonging to the sheriff’s office.

Vehicles 'suspiciously transferred or sold'

Investigators conducted an audit of all vehicles owned by the sheriff’s office and the Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association. The latest records listed 11 vehicles that “appear to be suspiciously transferred or sold” from the sheriff’s office to the Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association “or associated businesses where Jamey Noel was the fire chief, chief executive officer and/or chief financial officer.”

Police said in March 2020, Noel bought a 2019 Chevrolet Rollback — a flatbed tow truck — for $88,979 for the sheriff’s office. But witnesses said he took the vehicle to his pole barn, and that he allowed Kenny Hughbanks and John Kimmick — who were mentioned in previous warrants — to use the truck.

Police said the 2019 Rollback had a mechanical issue and was subject to the Indiana Lemon Law, which allows vehicles in certain cases to be “returned to the manufacturer or authorized dealer in exchange for a replacement vehicle or a refund,” according to court records.

Just before the end of his term as sheriff in late December 2022, Noel traded the Rollback for a 2023 Chevrolet Tahoe. The trade-in allowance was $53,000.

The following month, Noel, operating as CEO of Utica/New Chapel, bought the Rollback for $55,000 from John Jones Automotive, also mentioned in previous reports.

In May 2023, the General Motors Corporation bought the Rollback from Utica for $88,979 — the original purchase price — with around $55,000 of this going to financier New Washington State Bank. The remaining $33,000 went to Utica/New Chapel.

Police also traced other vehicle transactions between the sheriff’s office and Utica/New Chapel. Court records list several U.S. surplus vehicles Noel obtained as sheriff which were “transferred to Utica for zero dollars.”

In another case, police said he bought a 2009 Dodge Ram for the sheriff's office from Utica/New Chapel, paying the $11,000 from jail commissary funds.

Though bought by the sheriff’s office, Noel later traded it in for a van, on behalf of Utica/New Chapel, getting a $10,000 trade-in allowance for the nonprofit.

In January 2022, police said he bought a 2011 school bus for Utica/New Chapel for $12,000, paid for with jail commissary funds.

The bus title was transferred to the sheriff’s office in late December 2022, three days before Noel’s term as sheriff ended.

Missing radios 

Last month, a sheriff’s office employee checking on car upgrades at John Jones Police Pursuit Vehicles — which sells and outfits cars for law enforcement agencies — discovered radios possibly stolen from the sheriff’s office.

The employee said while waiting, he noticed several radios marked “New Chapel Fire/EMS” that appeared to be the make and model of some missing from the sheriff’s office. He documented the serial numbers, one of which matched the sheriff’s office inventory.

An audit showed the sheriff’s office is missing 38 “portable and car-based” radios valued at over $100,000.

Police also said Noel paid more than $6,500 in 2022 from the jail commissary fund to replace a heating and cooling system at a station in or near the River Ridge Commerce Center in Clark County.

Government surplus items 

In previous months, investigators identified U.S. military surplus items belonging to the sheriff’s office at multiple locations including Noel’s pole barn and several Utica/New Chapel locations.

While serving the warrants Friday, police said they located a shipping container with additional surplus items at a station on Charlestown Road in New Albany, and called for an additional search warrant.

Noel is currently out on bond. Investigators have indicated more charges could be added, and more defendants including Noel’s wife, Misty, could be charged.

His trial is scheduled for May.

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

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

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