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Former Sheriff’s Deputy faces felony charge

SPENCER, Ind. (WISH) – The Owen County Sheriff’s Office reported that a former deputy turned himself in on Saturday and faces a felony and a misdemeanor charge.

According to police, a northern Owen County landowner found a man stealing ginseng off of his property on September 11, 2014. When Owen County Deputy Joseph R. Hinton responded to the call, he confiscated a “sizeable” amount of ginseng from the suspect.

When the landowner asked Hinton to return the stolen ginseng, Hinton said that the stolen material would be turned over to the Indiana Conservation Officer for investigation, police say.

The landowner called the Indiana Conservation Officer approximately two weeks later to check the status of his stolen property, which initiated a lengthy investigation that revealed that Hinton hadn’t turned over the stolen ginseng or even commenced a report against the suspect.

Investigating police report that Hinton had instead kept the ginseng and sold it to a certified buyer for $336.

The Sheriff’s Office issued an arrest warrant through the Owen Circuit Court for Hinton on Friday.

He faces one count of official misconduct, a level 6 felony, and one count of theft, a class A misdemeanor.

He posted 10% of his $7,500 bond and was released on Saturday.