SHELDON—A South Dakota man is in custody on suspicion of robbing a Sheldon convenience store early Friday morning, Nov. 2, with a firearm for some cigarettes.

The Sheldon Police Department reported that it responded at about 2:25 a.m. to the Casey’s General Store located at 504 Second Ave. for a call about a man who entered the business with a rifle and stole a pack of cigarettes before leaving the store.

According to the police department, Thomas Jesse Tuttle, 33, of Watertown, SD, left the business in a silver Oldsmobile Alero with South Dakota license plates. No employees were harmed during the altercation.

Officers from the Sheldon and Sanborn police departments and the O’Brien County Sheriff’s Department immediately responded to the scene.

Staff members at Casey’s were able to provide law enforcement with a license plate number of the man’s vehicle. Officers learned that the car was registered to an individual who lives in Watertown.

The Watertown Police Department was contacted and was able to make contact with the registered owner of the vehicle.

According to the Sheldon Police Department, the registered owner of the car said he had sold the vehicle to Tuttle.

With this information, officers were able to obtain a photo and driver’s license information for Tuttle. They also learned that Tuttle had outstanding arrest warrants in South Dakota.

According to the police department, officers also viewed the Casey’s security camera footage and showed staff members a photo of Tuttle. The video and witnesses confirmed that Tuttle came into Casey’s with the rifle and stole cigarettes.

At about 4:30 a.m., a Sheldon police officer located Tuttle’s vehicle in the 500 block of Seventh Street in Sheldon.

Additional law enforcement agencies were contacted, including a Special Response Team made up of officers from the Cherokee and LeMars police departments, and deputies from the sheriff’s departments in Cherokee, Plymouth and Sioux counties.

The Special Response Team arrived at the scene and made contact with Tuttle who still was seated in the vehicle. Team members gained entry to the car by breaking the driver’s side window. Tuttle was removed from the vehicle.

During this process, Tuttle resisted arrest, forcing officers to deploy a Taser to gain control of Tuttle, according to the police department.

After Tuttle was arrested, a small bag of a substance thought to be methamphetamine was found in his pocket.

Officers also found a loaded 9 mm Kel-Tec carbine with a 31-round magazine on the passenger seat of Tuttle’s vehicle.

Tuttle was taken to Sanford Sheldon Medical Center for an examination and treated for some minor injuries he suffered during his arrest. He was released a short time later.

Tuttle then was taken to the Sheldon Police Department where he was interviewed, in which Tuttle revealed that he drove around Sheldon after he allegedly robbed Casey’s with the intention of engaging with law enforcement in an armed conflict.

Officers also learned that Tuttle intended on committing an armed robbery at a Sheldon bank later on the same day, according to the police department.

A search warrant was obtained and executed on Tuttle’s vehicle. Located in the vehicle were items that officers are considering as evidence, including:

  • A loaded 17-round 9 mm magazine.
  • Drug paraphernalia.
  • Baggies containing prescription medication and a substance thought to be meth.
  • A digital scale.
  • Several face masks Tuttle stated that he intended to use in a bank robbery.

Tuttle has been charged with the following crimes:

  • First-degree robbery, a Class B felony.
  • Possession of a controlled substance — meth — with the intent to deliver, a Class C felony.
  • Felon in possession of a firearm, a Class D felony.
  • Possession of a controlled substance — meth — third or subsequent, a Class D felony.
  • Unlawful possession of prescription drugs, a serious misdemeanor.
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor.
  • Interference with official acts, a simple misdemeanor.

As of Friday afternoon, Nov. 2, Tuttle was being held at the O’Brien County Jail in Primghar.