January 30, 2023

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Previous Brown County clerk accused of thieving business office supplies faces 2 felony counts

BROWN COUNTY, Ind. – A former county clerk’s sticky fingers filched business materials in the waning days of her expression, landing her in legal problems once again, police say.

Former Brown County Clerk Kathy L. Smith faces two felony counts right after becoming accused of stealing office environment materials and other goods totaling extra than $1,000. Smith is billed with theft and official misconduct.

Brown beforehand faced numerous prices, together with official misconduct of a community servant, deception and theft, in relationship with a separate investigation. In that case, she was accused of working with county resources to make purchases for herself. That scenario is continue to operating its way by means of the court procedure.

Smith dropped the Republican major in 2022 during her bid for reelection.

The most recent investigation commenced on Jan. 3. Investigators had acquired facts from other workforce at the clerk’s business office that Smith had taken workplace materials residence with her at the stop of December.

1 of the employees, after talking to the county sheriff about the scenario, marked specified items in the business office so they could be tracked. They included labels, spiral notebooks, pads of paper, bags of rubber bands and highlighters, amid other things.

A further employee offered investigators with a listing of business provides and observed that 14 things had been missing. The worker calculated the price of the missing materials at $256.02.

Workers told police that Smith was using “a massive quantity of business supplies” out of the office environment around the final two weeks of the calendar year, even however her time period finished on Dec. 31, 2022. Smith “consistently carried quite a few luggage of merchandise with her every single time she remaining work” around these last two months, the workforce reported. Just one worker described looking at Smith consider a label maker and four packing containers of labels.

A number of “Brown County Election” bags have been also lacking.

An personnel recalled Smith experienced purchased a tiny refrigerator with a chrome front in 2020 to exchange an older 1 in the place of work. However, Smith later on brought the outdated fridge back and mentioned the new a single was saved in the basement of the Regulation Enforcement Middle.

The aged fridge at some point died in 2022, and Smith bought a new just one with a white front. When an worker questioned what happened to the a single with the chrome front, Smith advised the employee she’d returned it.

Smith compensated $200.99 for the fridge, which is continue to unaccounted for, in accordance to court docket documents.

Smith printed “well more than 200 internet pages of files that had been for the Fruitdale Hearth Section,” according to court docket files. The fire chief stated she was experiencing disciplinary motion for that, mainly because she utilised county sources to variety up minutes from conferences for the office.

Investigators acquired surveillance movie from the previous aspect of 2022 that confirmed Smith carrying objects out to her motor vehicle and her husband’s auto. At a person position, she experienced the trunk so whole, she could barely get it to near. On one more celebration, law enforcement explained, a box fell out of the trunk although she experimented with to shut it.

Investigators attained a look for warrant for Smith’s household a research on Jan. 9, 2023, turned up a one Brown County Election bag. Investigators did not come across additional office items on the assets.

Police then realized Smith had a storage facility just outside of Nashville, Indiana. After finding a search warrant, police located the missing workplace supplies, together with the ones marked by an personnel so they could be tracked.

The search also turned up two boxes of 3-ring binders the containers experienced transport labels for the Brown County Clerk’s Office environment and had been from Workplace Depot. Other binders appeared to belong to the Brown County Election Board the full for all the binders was about $384.

Investigators found the label maker and 4 containers of labels, valued at $175.79. Far more of the Brown County Election baggage have been also at the storage facility, law enforcement said.

Law enforcement arrested Smith on Jan. 10, 2023. Investigators experienced talked to her on the prior day she mentioned she’d only had a single of the election baggage and did not know about the place of work materials. She insisted she hadn’t stolen anything at all from the business. She also denied recognizing everything about a storage lose, but police advised her what they’d uncovered within, which involved “Kathy Smith for Clerk” and “Kathy Smith for Coroner” signs that clearly distinguished who retained products there.

When asked why she had the place of work supplies, Smith claimed she’d gotten them to swap goods she’d acquired for the place of work herself. Typically, law enforcement pointed out, workers would convert in receipts and get reimbursement for all those types of buys.

“It is not normal of a county employee to buy products applying county funds to change personally obtained objects, specifically with no paperwork for the Auditor’s Business, nor is it policy,” the investigator wrote in the probable cause affidavit. “Normal course of action is to buy things, switch in the receipts to the Auditor’s Business and find reimbursement. It appeared distinct to me that Smith was making an attempt to occur up with an justification.”

Previous staff members stated it was regular for Smith to just take a couple of items from the workplace in the course of her tenure as clerk. On the other hand, the “the final two months of 2022 were more blatant,” in accordance to court files.

Investigators reported the office environment provides, the missing refrigerator the binders and the label maker and labels were being procured with $1,016.80 in county funds. The amount of money set Smith around the threshold for a felony.

Smith had an preliminary hearing on Jan. 12, according to court docket data. A demo is scheduled for March.