A Science Hill man who was caught last fall stealing a pistol and a pair of cowboy boots has been sentenced to 20 years as a result of the incident.
Anthony Michael Schultheiss, 23, pleaded guilty Thursday in Pulaski Circuit Court to first-degree burglary, theft of a firearm, possession of a handgun by a convicted felon, first-degree criminal mischief, and persistent felony offender and was sentenced to a total of 20 years in prison.
According to Commonwealth's Attorney David Dalton, the charges stemmed from an incident that began in the early morning hours of November 26, 2021. The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office received a call of a burglary in progress from Heartland Drive. Neighbors reported a male breaking into a residence through the back door. The neighbors immediately called 911 - at which point the suspect was exiting the back door carrying a pistol and a safe. The neighbors yelled at the suspect, causing him to drop the safe. The suspect then jumped into a gray Nissan Altima and fled the scene.
The residents returned to their home and showed the deputies that the back door had been kicked in and was wide open. They stated that someone had ransacked a closet and chest of drawers in the back bedroom. A safe was missing, along with a revolver pistol and a pair of cowboy boots. A closer inspection showed that the suspect had discharged the firearm - shooting a hole in the wall (striking a vase and damaging curtains).
The Sheriff's Office, looking for a gray Nissan Altima, shortly thereafter stopped that type vehicle being driven by a female with Schultheiss as a passenger. The stop occurred on Ferry Road near Oak Hill Road. The deputies - noting an active warrant for Schultheiss on other matters - arrested him and searched the vehicle. The deputies found a pistol revolver in the front seat where Schultheiss was sitting. A pair of cowboy boots was also located inside the vehicle. The victims later identified the pistol and boots as the ones which were stolen.
According to Dalton, the female driver of the vehicle stated that she simply thought she was giving Schultheiss a ride "to his uncle's house to get a few things." She claimed she didn't know he had a gun or that he was burglarizing the residence. She indicated that as they were traveling up Ferry Road, Schultheiss told her to elude the police.
A local grand jury indicted Schultheiss in February of this year on the charges that he has pleaded guilty to.
Dalton stated that this 20-year sentence would run consecutively to a previous felony sentence for which Schultheiss was on parole.
The commonwealth's attorney cited Schultheiss' criminal history -- including second-degree robbery, second-degree escape, theft of a firearm; felony receiving stolen property; second-degree burglary and third degree assault -- as a contributing factor to the severity of Thursday's sentence.
"The defendant is not receiving a 20-year sentence for simply for breaking into a house, stealing a gun and some boots and trying to steal a safe," Dalton said. "He is receiving this sentence because he is a multiple time convicted felon who remains a danger to himself and others. He couldn't even steal the gun without firing off a round and damaging even more of the victim's property. Hopefully by the time he gets out of prison, he will learn that this type of behavior will not be tolerated."
Dalton singled out Deputy Danny Pevley (the lead investigator), Deputy David Campbell, Deputy Trent Massey and Lt. Cary York for their efforts in this investigation.
"The Pulaski County Sheriff's Office did an excellent job," the prosecutor said. "Deputy Pevley and the Department put this together quickly and thoroughly."
Dalton also praised the neighbors that called in the burglary.
"There are few better security systems that a good neighbor," he said. "This case could not have been solved without their cooperation."