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EAST ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Tribune News Service) — A federal grand jury here has indicted a Missouri Army National Guardsman and two Defense Department subcontractors and accused them of conspiring to steal and sell sensitive military equipment and uniforms.

The scheme involved outright stealing of military uniforms and the diversion of equipment that was supposed to be scrapped and recycled for resale, including LED video screens, a high frequency radio, military night vision sights, a military antenna system, military flight helmets and a military infrared thermal imager, prosecutors said.

“These allegations are very serious,” U.S. Attorney Steven D. Weinhoeft said in a statement. “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.”

The indictment names Brandon Schulte, 43, of Jefferson City, Jody “Joe” Stambaugh, 50, of Nashville, Illinois, and Gary Stambaugh, 77, of Fayetteville, Illinois.

The Stambaughs co-owned Stambaugh Enterprises, a scrap metal company in Mascoutah with a Defense Department subcontract to pick up scrap metal from Scott Air Force Base and a National Guard facility in Jefferson City, prosecutors said. They were prohibited from reusing or refurbishing any military equipment or selling it to others who would do the same, prosecutors said. But the Stambaughs sorted through truckloads of gear to find items that could be used or sold, prosecutors said. They also submitted false “certificates of destruction” for the items, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors said Brandon Schulte was responsible for storing and disposing of military property at the Jefferson City National Guard facility. The Stambaughs received thousands of pounds of uniforms and “other unauthorized, sensitive military property,” prosecutors said, when they were only authorized to take scrap metal. Failing to properly dispose of uniforms and other items could endanger troops overseas, prosecutors said, if obtained by terrorists or others.

Schulte conspired with the Stambaughs from 2015 to 2018, then lied about it to federal agents in 2019, prosecutors said.

The Stambaughs face three charges of theft and one conspiracy charge and Schulte faces one charge each of conspiracy and making a false statement.

They are scheduled to plead not guilty Sept. 1 in U.S. District Court in East St. Louis.

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(c)2021 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

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