A former Missouri sheriff stockpiled about three tons of food in the jail basement, and county officials think he may have been preparing for the apocalypse.
Joey Kyle, the former Christian County sheriff, pleaded guilty in May to embezzlement and aiding a fraud scheme, and officials said the discovery showed the extent of his spending and mismanagement, reported the Springfield News-Leader.
“It was apparently purchased as part of an end-of-time plan — part of a survival plan,” said interim Sheriff Dwight McNiel.
A former county commissioner said Kyle became obsessed with end times prophesies after attending a January 2014 conference of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association in Las Vegas.
“He was all jacked up or hyped up about what he learned or heard there,” said Lou Lapaglia, who served as presiding commissioner from 2011 to 2014.
Another county commissioner said Kyle worried about Israel attacking its neighbors and the U.S. invading Iran — which he said would trigger a major war and hasten the biblically foretold battle of Armageddon.
That commissioner, Ray Weter, said he had been concerned about Kyle’s spending for more than a year, but he said state law limits the county government’s oversight of the sheriff’s discretionary spending.
Commissioners said Kyle also ignored or rejected attempts by county officials to examine his finances, which were recorded in pencil and vaguely annotated.
“As a taxpayer, I was appalled at what we found there,” said McNiel, the interim sheriff.
Kyle didn’t just keep his financial records haphazardly, officials said.
The former sheriff maintained an armory — which included C4 explosives, blasting caps and an Iraqi-made grenade launcher — in a closet directly underneath a county courtroom.
The former sheriff and his department remain the target of at least three ongoing criminal investigations, and McNiel said he hoped they would be concluded before the Aug. 4 election of a new sheriff.
It’s not clear whether Kyle bought the stockpiled food, which was donated to the Christian County Family Crisis Center, with taxpayer funds.
Watch this video report posted online by KOLR-TV:
Update: An earlier version of this story indicated that Kyle had become fascinated with the apocalypse after a conference of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, based on inaccurate information from the News-Leader.