A man who carjacked and robbed two men at gunpoint in a single evening was sentenced to fifteen years in federal prison. The sentencing took place April 6, 2021, in federal district court in Sioux City.
Jeremiah Shortenhaus, age 27, from Sioux City, Iowa, received the prison term after an October 20, 2020, guilty plea to possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.
Evidence presented by the United States at Shortenhaus’s detention, change of plea, and sentencing hearings revealed that on July 27, 2019, Shortenhaus robbed a man at gunpoint in Sioux City, Iowa while the man was in his car at an ATM. Shortenhaus ordered the man out of his vehicle, entered through the passenger side and stole the vehicle along with personal property from inside the vehicle. Later that same night, in South Sioux City, Nebraska, Shortenhaus robbed a second victim who was sitting in his vehicle waiting for the morning paper. Shortenhaus pointed a handgun at the victim, ordered him to get out of the car and hand over his wallet and phone. Shortenhaus then left the parking lot in the victim’s vehicle. Shortenhaus was apprehended by a Sioux City police officer after a high-speed chase that ended when Shortenhaus crashed the second stolen car and fled on foot.
Shortenhaus was sentenced in Sioux City by United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand. Shortenhaus was sentenced to 180 months’ imprisonment. He must also serve a five-year term of supervised release after the prison term. There is no parole in the federal system.
Shortenhaus is being held in the United States Marshal’s custody until he can be transported to a federal prison.
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.
This case is also part of Project Guardian, the Department of Justice’s signature initiative to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Initiated by the Attorney General in the fall of 2019, Project Guardian draws upon the Department’s past successful programs to reduce gun violence; enhances coordination of federal, state, local, and tribal authorities in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes; improves information-sharing by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives when a prohibited individual attempts to purchase a firearm and is denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), to include taking appropriate actions when a prospective purchaser is denied by the NICS for mental health reasons; and ensures that federal resources are directed at the criminals posing the greatest threat to our communities. For more information about Project Guardian, please see /media/1122011/download?inline.
The case was investigated by the Sioux City, Iowa Police Department and the South Sioux City, Nebraska Police Department and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Forde Fairchild.
Court file information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The case file number is 19-CR‑4068.
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