An attentive employee of a fast-food restaurant in North Vernon, suspicious of a drive-thru customer, triggered a police investigation that resulted in the arrest of a 21-year-old Brownstown woman.

Sierra Ihle was arrested on a Level 4 felony charge last week, according to a news release from the North Vernon Police Department.

If convicted of possession of more than 5 grams of methamphetamine while carrying a firearm, Ihle could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.

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The Jackson County woman also is facing misdemeanor charges of possession of paraphernalia and possession of stolen property.

In the early morning hours of Oct. 5, an employee of the North State Street McDonald’s noticed two people acting suspiciously in the drive-thru line, the release stated.

As their vehicle came to the pickup window, the employee saw at least one box of ammunition on the driver’s lap before the vehicle left to park nearby, the police account stated.

While Ihle was the only person found when investigators arrived, a search was conducted after an officer saw a rifle inside her vehicle, the release stated.

According to the release, the search turned up:

  • 7.9 grams of methamphetamine
  • Two loaded .22-caliber rifles and several hundred rounds of ammunition
  • Several items of drug paraphernalia that included smoking pipes and scales
  • Clothing and a digital camera believed to have been taken from a North Vernon department store

While Ihle was immediately taken into custody, investigators did not locate the other person with her in the drive-thru line, the release stated.

She was released Oct. 7 after a 48-hour hold expired, according to a Jennings County Jail spokeswoman.

North Vernon police said more arrests are possible.

Mark Webber is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5636.