Missouri National Guardsman, DoD subcontractors indicted in conspiracy to steal military gear

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FILE (Photo by GEORGE FREY/AFP via Getty Images)

EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. – A Missouri Army National Guardsman and two owners of a Mascoutah, Illinois scrap metal company subcontracting for the U.S. Department of Defense were indicted for allegedly plotting to steal and eventually sell military gear.

A federal grand jury in East St. Louis returned the indictment on Wednesday against three men:

  • Brandon Schulte, 47; Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Jody “Joe” Stambaugh, 50; Nashville, Illinois
  • Gary Stambaugh, 77; Fayetteville, Illinois

Schulte and the Stambaughs are due in federal court for their arraignments on Sept. 1. If convicted, the Stambaughs face up to 10 years in prison on each of three theft counts and up to five years for conspiracy to commit theft. Schulte’s conspiracy count and the separate charge of making a false statement each carry a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

“Any theft of government property harms the taxpayers, but worse, items such as equipment and uniforms could easily fall into the wrong hands and threaten the safety of our service members,” said U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft, Southern District of Illinois.

Federal prosecutors allege the men plotted to steal and then sell uniforms, tactical robots, night vision sights, high-frequency radios, and other functional equipment.

According to the indictment, the Stambaughs ran Stambaugh Enterprises, a scrap metal yard in Mascoutah. Their business operated as a subcontractor for the DoD to pick up, transport, and recycle scrap metal from several facilities in Illinois and Missouri, including Scott Air Force Base and a Missouri Army National Guard facility in Jefferson City.

As part of the contract, the Stambaughs were obligated to destroy all military property they hauled away. They were also prohibited from reusing or refurbishing any items for their own use or selling any items to be reused or refurbished.

The indictment alleges the Stambaughs took truckloads of military property to their business in Mascoutah and sorted through the items to see what could be reused and/or sold to other individuals. Between Jan. 2017 and Oct. 2017, they provided an unnamed co-conspirator with several items to be sold for profit.

Prosecutors also claim the pair filed false “certificates of destruction” to the DoD.

Where does Schulte fit into the conspiracy?

According to the indictment, Schulte was responsible for storing and disposing of military property at Missouri Army National Guard facility in Jefferson City. The Stambaughs received military uniforms and other unauthorized property from Schulte, even though Schulte knew they were only supposed to be given scrap metal.

Schulte is suspected of conspiring with the Stambaughs from 2015 to 2018 and making a false statement to federal investigators in 2019.

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