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NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Johnson County Senior Services has broken ground on its headquarters in New Whiteland.

Our partners at the Daily Journal report the organization’s decision to begin construction was “a leap of faith” as it’s still more than $100,000 shy of its $520,000 fundraising goal.

The organization says construction is expected to start in a few weeks and it plans to move from its current home in Franklin when work wraps up this fall.

“After a five-year fundraising effort, the goal is within reach. Johnson County Senior Services, through many small donations and a handful of large donations, has raised $418,000 for the much-needed facility,” said Kim Smith, Johnson County Senior Services executive director.

The publication reports the 5,000-square-foot building is expected to cost about $500,000. The organization says an additional $20,000 will go toward a construction contingency fund, furnishings and office equipment.

Johnson County Senior Services says half of the building will be used for offices, board rooms, a break room and other administrative spaces. The remaining space will be used for a food pantry, freezers and other necessities that the organization says will help it serve more seniors on an ongoing basis.

New Whiteland stolen gun

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — The rifle fired by a suspect at a Chicago hospital Monday afternoon was one of 33 guns stolen in July from Element Armament on Tracy Road, the gun shop owner confirmed. 

Bernard Harvey Jr., 40, fired approximately nine shots at the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center, authorities said.

He was subdued within one minute of opening fire, according to FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Sallet.

Harvey complied when officers ordered him to drop the 9 mm caliber rifle and get on the ground, according to federal court documents filed Tuesday.

No injuries were reported. Motive remained unclear Wednesday.

Harvey, an Indianapolis resident, is charged with illegal firearm possession by a convicted felon, according to an affidavit obtained by News 8.

His criminal history includes a 2005 conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm; a 2000 conviction for manufacturing and delivering dangerous drugs; and a 1998 conviction for unlawfully possessing a firearm.

The owner of Element Armament told News 8 it was “scary to learn a gun from [his] shop had fallen into the wrong hands.”

He was “grateful nobody was shot at the Chicago VA,” he added. He requested anonymity, citing safety concerns.  

Surveillance footage provided to News 8 by the owner captured the July 27 break-in at Element Armament. The video shows five suspects in hooded sweatshirts entering through a side door, smashing display cases in the main store area and leaving with various firearms. Thirteen long guns and 20 handguns were reported stolen.

A group of teenagers were arrested in connection with the burglary, authorities said July 31. Federal charges are pending. 

Authorities were unable to confirm any connection between the teen suspects and Harvey.

It was unknown Wednesday night how many of the 33 stolen guns had been recovered.

Kenneth McDougall, a self-described gun aficionado who frequents gun shops in New Whiteland and Franklin, said safety was his top concern as a gun owner. 

“A gun is a powerful thing,” he told News 8, adding he stressed the importance of safety whenever his 9-year-old daughter accompanied him to the shooting range.

McDougall was shocked to learn 33 guns had been stolen from Element Armament. 

“[The guns could end up with] 33 unknown individuals that could do anything,” he said. “But I don’t think it’s the store’s fault.”

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (AP) — Authorities say they’ve arrested suspects after 33 handguns and rifles were stolen from a central Indiana gun shop in a matter of minutes.

New Whiteland Police Chief Joe Rynerson tells the Daily Journal that all the suspects involved in Saturday’s burglary at Element Armament in New Whiteland are believed to be teenagers. Federal charges are expected and efforts are ongoing to recover the missing guns.

Surveillance video showed five people initially described by police as men breaking into the shop. All were wearing black or white hooded sweat shirts. Their faces were partially covered and they were wearing gloves. Authorities say a sixth person might have been involved as a driver.

The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also is involved in the investigation.


Information from: Daily Journal,

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — A woman has died in a train-SUV crash in Johnson County, the sheriff said. 

The crash was reported about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday on County Road 600 North just a few blocks east of U.S. 31. The railroad crossing has no lights or crossing gates but does have stop signs. 

The train was made up of three engines, and the crash resulted in traffic being unable to cross the railroad tracks in parts of north-central Johnson County.

The driver of the white 2007 Nissan Versa involved in the crash has been identified as 20-year-old Shauna Synesael. Synesael was the vehicle’s only occupant.

The Johnson County Sheriff’s Office said that it looks as if Synesael was traveling east on Tracey Road when she crossed into the path of the northbound train. 

WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) – Police in Whiteland say a student has been arrested after making threats on social media.

The Whiteland Police Department posted about the arrest Friday morning on Twitter.

According to the Greenwood Police Department, they began receiving several complaints Thursday night about threats made by a 17-year-old Whiteland High School student.

Police said the threats on social media stated the student was “shooting up the school” on Friday. Additionally, police say the student posted a picture of himself with what appeared to be a handgun in the front of his pants, with the caption “thought you could stop me.”

Greenwood police officers then showed up at the at the teen’s residence, who was at home with his mother at the time. The 17-year-old was taken in for questioning.

Police say that during the extensive interviewing of the teen, the juvenile maintained that he never made any such threats.

The authorities then interviewed other people who had been with the teen that day, who stated the 17-year-old never said anything about shooting up the high school.

Also, the student voluntarily surrendered his laptop and phone to authorities, but no evidence of the teen making threats was discovered.  It was at that time police released the juvenile back to his mother.

JOHNSON COUNTY, Ind. (WISH) — A New Whiteland teenager was arrested after police say she accidentally texted an officer with details about a drug deal.

Police say 19-year-old Shelby Eicks sent a text on Sept. 8  that officers believe was meant for someone else, offering to sell methamphetamine.

The New Whiteland Police Department called in the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office to do an undercover drug investigation.

Detectives texted back and forth with Eicks to set up the drug deal on Sept. 10.

She’s now facing up to 30 years in prison.

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) – The Whiteland Police Department made an arrest in a recent string of vehicle break-ins throughout Whiteland and New Whiteland.

According to a police report, an officer observed Trevor Lee Ellis in the area of West Street and Meadowlark Drive in Whiteland. Police say Ellis had a black hoodie pulled over his face and was carrying a backpack.

When officers stopped Ellis they asked if they could search his backpack. Inside several items including multiple pocket knives, gloves cigarettes and a prescription pill bottle. The pill bottle had a different name and the officer was able to trace the name back to one of the victims from the car break-ins.

The backpack Ellis was carrying was also from that car break-in.

During an interview with police, Ellis admitted that he was the one responsible for breaking into vehicles in the area during the week of April 7. Ellis told police they could find the rest of the stolen items at his mother’s home.

Authorities believe he targeted a total of 25 vehicles.

In every single case, police say the victims left their doors unlocked overnight. Some people in the neighborhood said that was intentional. They’d rather have their vehicles broken into versus having their windows shattered and their vehicles broken into.

Police said in all cases there were no signs of forced entry and no damage reported. Still, they want to remind people to remove valuables and always lock your doors.

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — Police in Whiteland and New Whiteland are warning people after more than a dozen vehicles were broken into in a weeks time.

Police said, however, not a lot was taken. In New Whiteland, where 10 of the incidents occurred, less than $1,000 in belongings were reported stolen.

Neighbors say it wasn’t what he took, but how gutsy he was that makes this case abnormal. One person caught some of the action on surveillance. The video shows the suspect light a cigarette and then walk toward a home with two cars parked in the driveway. He opens the door on a car and the headlights turned on, but that didn’t stop him. He got inside the car, far enough to rummage through it thoroughly. He appears to get out, but then goes back in multiple times as if he is changing his mind. Two minutes pass before he closes the door.

“It was like he was comfortable or they were comfortable doing it. It didn’t seem like they were in any great rush,” said Angela Lucas, who was also targeted.

The suspect didn’t stop at the first car. He moved on to the second. Headlights put the spotlight on him. Still, he isn’t phased. He takes his time going through the console, then the back seat and finally he searches the front again. Altogether he spent about four minutes at this home, but only got away with a cell phone car charger. As he leaves, he drops a cigarette on the driveway. New Whiteland Police hope to have the cigarette butt DNA tested.

Authorities believe he targeted a total of 25 vehicles.

In every single case, police say the victims left their doors unlocked overnight. Some people in the neighborhood said that was intentional. They’d rather have their vehicles broken into versus having their windows shattered and their vehicles broken into.

“Not locking it say says ok, go ahead. Go through my car. See what you can get. Because I’m not going to leave valuables in it,” warned Lucas.

Police said in all cases there were no signs of forced entry and no damage reported. Still, they want to remind people to remove valuables and always lock your doors.

Contact the Whiteland Police Department at 317-535-8100 or the New Whiteland Police Department 317-535-5858 at if you have any information that could help in this investigation.

NEW WHITELAND, Ind. (WISH) — Police in New Whiteland have arrested one man and questioned another after a string of car break-ins last weekend.

Police have arrested 32-year-old Steven Wagers of Franklin in the case.

Police said that Wagers fled from an officer during an attempted traffic stop. The chase went on for about two block before the vehicle Wagers was driving stopped at Princeton Drive and Southlane Drive. Wagers took off from the vehicle and was later found in Franklin, police said.

Wagers faces preliminary charges of fleeing law enforcement, receiving stolen property and possession of a controlled substance. A passenger in the vehicle was questioned by not arrested.

At least 20 cars were broken into over the weekend. Police said much of the property found in the vehicle, including a handgun, have been claimed by people who had reported items missing.

Wagers additionally had a warrant for a parole violation. Officers from the Franklin Police Department assisted in the arrest of Wagers.