The Assistant Principal at Crothersville Junior-Senior High School and newly elected Jackson County Commissioner was summoned last Wednesday to appear in Jackson Circuit Court to face a felony charge of theft of a firearm.
Andrew ‘Drew’ B. Markel, 35, of rural Grassy Fork Township, also faces a misdemeanor charge of conversion in connection with the investigation into his purchase of a Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm handgun with a stolen gift card June 4, 2016, according to the probable cause affidavit signed by Indiana State Police Detective Matt Loyd.
While a probable cause has been filed by Special Prosecutor William Nash of Bartholomew County, no warrant for Markel’s arrest has yet been signed as of this newspaper’s press deadline.
Markel has not been booked into the Jackson County Jail but an initial hearing on the charges is scheduled for next Wednesday, January 25, according to information on MyCase.in.gov, the state’s court record website. Chris D. Monroe of Bartholomew County was appointed special judge in the matter on Friday afternoon.
Mark Dove of North Vernon entered his appearance as Markel’s attorney.
In addition to being a county commissioner and assistant principal at Crothersville, Markel is the son of Jackson Superior Court I Judge Bruce Markel III.
The purchase occurred at Bite the Bullet, a gun shop in downtown Seymour where Markel worked part time, according to the probable cause affidavit.
According to the court document filed by Loyd, the owner of Bite The Bullet reported that Markel had purchased a handgun with a gift card originally issued to a customer Dec. 26, 2015. Seymour Chief of Police Bill Abbott began an investigation in June 2016 but asked the Indiana State Police to take over the investigation, according to Loyd’s report.
That customer had purchased a handgun from the store but later decided to return it claiming it didn’t work properly, according to court documents. The customer received a $255.73 refund, which was put on a gift card to be used for a future purchase, according to court records.
The court document said that Markel took the handgun home for testing. He returned it to the storeowner saying the gun worked properly and that the customer complaint “appeared to be the result of user error.”
On Jan. 7, 2016, the customer came back to the store to look at other guns, and he and Markel got into a confrontation after Markel attempted to explain that the problem with the returned handgun might have been user error. Markel and another employee escorted the customer out of the store where the verbal exchange continued, the ISP’s report stated.
Markel’s employer told him to refund the money on the customer’s card and “zero it out,” according to court documents.
On June 4, 2016, Markel purchased a Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun from Bite The Bullet.
The gun shop owners were able to determine that when Markel purchased the 9mm handgun, he had used the customer’s gift card, Loyd said.
Markel later told the owners he thought he had used a $100 gift card he received as a Christmas gift from his mother-in-law for the purchase, according to court documents.
Loyd said on June 10 that Markel apologized to the store owners for the incident and said he had made an honest mistake. He also included a $257 check, the court document stated.
Markel has been placed on administrative leave with pay from his duties at Crothersville Community Schools, according to school superintendent Terry Goodin.
According to the school annual report published last August, Markel was paid $70,000 last year, the salary for a county commissioner is just over $21,400.