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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Washington

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 23, 2019

Wilbur Man Sentenced to Over 11 Years in Federal Prison for Cyberstalking and Illegally Possessing Firearms

Spokane – Joseph H. Harrington, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that Thomas Martin Roberts, age 52, of Wilbur, Washington, was sentenced today after having pleaded guilty on June 12, 2018, to being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition, possessing an unregistered firearm and cyberstalking. United States District Judge Rosanna Malouf Peterson sentenced Roberts to a 137-month term of imprisonment, to be followed by a three-year term of court supervision after he is released from federal prison.

According to information disclosed during court proceedings, on April 19, 2015, the Wilbur Police Department (WPD) was notified that a woman discovered two GPS tracking devices on her two vehicles and that Roberts always seemed to know where she was. The female had multiple domestic violence no contact orders against Roberts and was scheduled to appear in court on April 20, 2015, to testify that Roberts had violated one of the no contact orders. On April 20, 2015, WPD removed one of the GPS devices from the female’s vehicle and placed the device in the WPD station. Later that evening or in the early morning hours the next day, the police station was burglarized and the GPS device and a Taser were stolen. WPD also received information that in the early morning hours of April 21, 2015, an individual wearing a hoodie sweatshirt removed the GPS tracking device from the second vehicle parked outside the female’s residence. After obtaining a state warrant to search Roberts’ residence, investigators found and seized a Winchester, model 70, .270 caliber rifle, .223 caliber AR magazines, and multiple rounds of ammunition. Roberts had prior convictions for second degree assault, harassment-threat to kill, residential burglary, and first degree burglary and was prohibited from possessing a firearm and ammunition. After learning that Roberts also had a room at another residence, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) obtained a warrant to search that location, finding and seizing a sawed-off shotgun and nine other firearms, 5,500 rounds of ammunition, and evidence that Roberts had purchased two portable GPS tracking devices in 2014. Further investigation revealed that Roberts had been tracking the female’s vehicles and had sent her text messages indicating he knew where she was.

Joseph H. Harrington said, “This case sends a clear message that the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Washington and our federal, state and local law enforcement partners are firmly committed to protecting the public and aggressively pursuing individuals who engage in cyberstalking and the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. I commend the law enforcement officers of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office and Wilbur Police Department who investigated this case.”

This case was prosecuted under the Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) program. PSN is a federal, state, and local law enforcement collaboration to identify, investigate, and prosecute individuals responsible for violent crimes in our neighborhoods. The U.S. Attorney’s Office is partnering with federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement to specifically identify the criminals responsible for violent crime in the Eastern District of Washington and pursue criminal prosecution.

This case was investigated by the Spokane Resident Offices of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, Okanogan County Sheriff’s Office and Wilbur Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Earl A. Hicks, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington.

Topic(s): 
Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
2:16-CR-00070-RMP; 2:18-CR-00047-RMP
Updated May 28, 2019