SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted a former sheriff of St. Clair County for stealing property recovered in criminal cases and for selling a stolen firearm.  Ron Snodgrass served three terms as sheriff from 2001 to 2012 before losing his bid for a fourth term.

“Today’s indictment alleges that the former sheriff treated the county’s evidence room like his personal tool shed, cheating the taxpayers and citizens of St. Clair County,” U.S. Attorney Tammy Dickinson said.  “No one is above the law.  When the county’s chief law enforcement officer violates the very law he took an oath to uphold, he will be held accountable.”

Snodgrass, 46, lives in the El Dorado Springs area.   He is charged in a three-count indictment.

Under state law, any property seized by the sheriff’s department must be disposed of by a court order that authorizes the return of the property to a claimant.  If property is unclaimed, it must be disposed of through a public sale (with the proceeds deposited in the county treasury), destroyed, or forfeited to the state.  State law did not authorize Snodgrass to convert unclaimed property seized in criminal cases to his own personal use.

The indictment charges Snodgrass with two counts of theft concerning programs that receive federal funds.  (During Snodgrass’s tenure as sheriff, the U.S. Marshals Service contracted with St. Clair County to house federal inmates at the St. Clair County Jail.) 

Investigators believe Snodgrass stole a John Deere zero turn mower on Sept. 8, 2009, and stole a 2009 Polaris Ranger UTV on Sept. 29, 2012.  The indictment also charges Snodgrass with selling a stolen firearm.  Between Aug. 7, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2012, investigators believe Snodgrass sold a Remington .22-caliber rifle that he knew had been stolen.

The indictment also contains a forfeiture allegation, which would require Snodgrass to forfeit to the government any property derived from the proceeds of the alleged offenses, including a money judgment of $16,000.

The FBI, the Missouri State Highway Patrol and the St. Clair County7 Sheriff’s Department investigated this case.