A Cedar Rapids man who stole his grandfather’s pistol, was arrested by local authorities, and then just weeks later stole a rifle from his friend’s residence, was sentenced on November 20, 2019, to more than two years in federal prison.
Jeremy Keith Heldt, age 34, from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, received the prison term after a June 4, 2019, guilty plea to one count of felon in possession of ammunition.
In a plea agreement, Heldt admitted that, in April 2017, he was driving a truck around the southeast side of Cedar Rapids when he struck a parked car. Heldt was barred from driving at the time. Heldt initially drove away from the scene of the accident, but soon returned to survey the damage, parked the truck, and fled on foot with a duffel bag. A witness followed Heldt, and law enforcement officers eventually found Heldt sitting on the porch of nearby residence. On the porch, officers found the bag, which contained a loaded .45 caliber pistol, associated ammunition, four knives, two ninja throwing stars, marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. In the truck, officers found a matching .45 caliber magazine and 19 loose rounds of .45 caliber ammunition. Officers later traced the firearm to Heldt’s grandfather. Heldt admitted taking the firearm from his grandfather.
State authorities released Heldt from jail after he pled guilty to non-firearms related charges and received a 15-day jail sentence. Then, in May 2017, law enforcement officers responded to a burglary of the residence of Heldt’s friend in Hiawatha, Iowa. Heldt had stolen a laptop computer, a motor vehicle, a firearm, deck railing, and a screen door from the residence. Heldt also disassembled his friend’s water heater but left it in his friend’s garage. Officers later found Heldt in Cedar Rapids with four shotgun shells, the stolen laptop, a key to the stolen car, and brass knuckles. At the time of his second arrest, Heldt was wearing a fanny pack with 33 rounds of ammunition. Officers later recovered the stolen car, in which they found the friend’s stolen .22 caliber rifle and matching ammunition.
Heldt has an extensive criminal history dating back to at least 2003. In 2004, Heldt was convicted of felony third-degree burglary in Linn County and prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition at that time. That same year, Heldt also was convicted of felony first-degree criminal mischief in Dallas County after he used a stolen handgun to fire multiple rounds of ammunition into a residence. In 2013 and 2015, Heldt was convicted of operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated in Linn County.
Heldt was sentenced in Cedar Rapids by United States District Court Judge C.J. Williams. Heldt was sentenced to 28 months’ imprisonment. Heldt must also serve a three-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.
Heldt was released on the bond previously set and is to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on a date yet to be set.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tim Vavricek and investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Cedar Rapids Police Department, and the Hiawatha Police Department.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 18-CR-120.
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