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Police find shipping containers, military surplus equipment in ongoing Jamey Noel investigation

Special Prosecutor Ric Hertel, standing in court near Jamey Noel and his attorneys who sit at a table.
Aprile Rickert
Special Prosecutor Ric Hertel, standing, addresses the judge during a hearing earlier this year for former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.

Indiana State Police recently located more than two dozen shipping containers, a forklift and a train as part of the investigation of former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel.

The latest warrants in the criminal case against former Clark County Sheriff Jamey Noel detail what Indiana State Police were looking for at two locations. At an oil company property in Deputy, investigators were seeking any federal government surplus property belonging to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. The warrant was requested after investigators found approximately 26 shipping containers on the property, some of which appeared to have surplus equipment.

There have been more than 40 search warrants served in the case. Noel was arrested in November and is now facing 25 felonies including theft, tax evasion and ghost employment. His wife, Misty, is also charged with 10 felonies for theft and tax evasion.

They are both out on bond.

Investigators have also sought vehicle purchase, sales and auction documents at a Scottsburg property used by Kenny Hughbanks, the former Scott County Sheriff who worked for the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and has been listed in multiple court records related to the investigation.

Military surplus equipment has been a focus of the case. Police say they believe the sheriff’s office received more than $7 million in military surplus equipment and tools during Noel’s two terms as sheriff, from from 2015 to 2022. Investigators have been working to track down and account for the equipment, some of which they say was kept by Noel or others.

Records show a sheriff’s office employee told police that in 2019, Noel had him transport some shipping containers being given to government entities by the United States Department of Homeland Security. Some were taken to Utica Township Volunteer Firefighters Association, also known as New Chapel EMS, locations — the nonprofit Noel previously operated. Others were taken to the sheriff’s office training facility and filled with surplus equipment

The witness said in late 2022, as Noel’s second term was ending, employee John Kimmick — who has also worked for Utica/New Chapel — moved the containers from the training center to “an unknown location.”

In November, police searched Kimmick’s Sellersburg property and found two containers and a surplus aircraft toolbox. Kimmick said Hughbanks gave them to him and “admitted they belonged to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office.”

Last month, police talked with Kevin Wilkerson, chief mechanic at Utica/New Chapel who was also listed in previous court records. He said in late 2022, he heard Hughbanks talking with someone about moving containers from the training center to a property in Deputy belonging to James Bishop.

Police didn’t see any containers during an initial flyover search of a property belonging to Bishop. When police contacted him, Bishop told investigators Noel and Hughbanks asked him to store multiple containers with “New Chapel property.” He said they were at his oil company on West Corporation Drive in Deputy.

Police visited the property, finding approximately 26 shipping containers, including some from the federal government. They said several were open and appeared to contain surplus equipment.

They also found a surplus forklift and a surplus Jeffersonville Powder Plant Plymouth train.

The other most recent known search warrant involves a former hardware store on East Kerten Street in Scottsburg rented or owned by Hughbanks. Court records show police got a tip he was storing between 15 to 20 classic cars there, including a “military green” forklift.

The warrant issued this week shows investigators were seeking any documentation related to vehicle purchases or sales by Noel, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office or Utica/New Chapel. They also looked for auction records and any surplus equipment belonging to the sheriff’s office.

LPM News previously reported Noel is accused of profiting from vehicles moved through Utica/New Chapel.

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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