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Press Release

Armed Gunman With Lengthy Criminal History Sent to Federal Prison For Illegal Possession of a Gun

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Iowa
Tuttle carried a gun during a number of felony offenses, and while stealing from a Sheldon, Iowa, store.

A felon who unlawfully possessed a firearm was sentenced on August 30, 2019 to more than 7 years in federal prison.

Thomas Tuttle, age 34, from Watertown, South Dakota, received the prison term after a March 27, 2019, guilty plea to possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. 

Information provided by the United States at the sentencing, change of plea, and detention hearings revealed that on November 2, 2018, Tuttle walked into a convenience store in Sheldon, Iowa carrying a loaded 9 mm, Kel-Tec, Carbine, which contained 30 rounds of ammunition, and stole a pack of cigarettes, frightening customers and employees alike in the process.  Tuttle, in fact, possessed and brandished the gun in connection with other felony offenses and contemporaneously with his possession of methamphetamine.

Tuttle was arrested from inside his car by a law enforcement tactical team. He had ingested a large amount of illegal drugs, and had the loaded gun in close proximity.  He later commented that he had come to Iowa with “bad intentions” and had he not been sleeping when the tactical team approached him “things would have gone differently” during his arrest.

It was also revealed that Tuttle has a history of dangerousness and violence.  He has been convicted four times for Driving Under the Influence, three times for assaultive conduct, and repeatedly for controlled substance violations and other offenses.            

Tuttle was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand.  Tuttle was sentenced to 90 months’ imprisonment.  He was ordered to make $8.00 in restitution (for the packet of cigarettes).  He must also serve a 3-year term of supervised release after the prison term.  There is no parole in the federal system.

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN).  PSN is the centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s violent crime reduction efforts.  PSN is an evidence-based program proven to be effective at reducing violent crime. Through PSN, a broad spectrum of stakeholders work together to identify the most pressing violent crime problems in the community and develop comprehensive solutions to address them. As part of this strategy, PSN focuses enforcement efforts on the most violent offenders and partners with locally based prevention and reentry programs for lasting reductions in crime.

Tuttle is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.

The case was investigated by the Sheldon, Iowa, Police Department, which was assisted by the O’Brien County Attorney’s Office and Sherriff’s Office and other nearby agency and departments.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild. 

Court file information at

The case file number is 19-4008.

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Updated August 30, 2019

Firearms Offenses
Project Safe Neighborhoods