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SHELDON, Iowa -- A Casey's gas station in Sheldon was robbed at gunpoint early Friday morning by a man who later told authorities he had planned to engage in an armed conflict with law enforcement. 

According to a press release from the Sheldon Police Department, at around 2:25 a.m. Friday, officers were called to Casey's General Store, 504 2nd Ave. in Sheldon, where a man had entered the store with a rifle and stole cigarettes before leaving. 

The suspect left the store in a silver Oldsmobile Alero with license plates registered to Watertown, South Dakota. The Watertown Police Department was able to reach the registered owner of the Oldsmobile, who told officers he had sold the vehicle to 33-year-old Thomas Tuttle of Watertown. 

Authorities obtained Tuttle's photo and driver's license information, and learned that he had outstanding arrest warrants in South Dakota. Video footage and witnesses confirmed that Tuttle was the suspect in the Casey's robbery. 

At around 4:30 a.m. Friday, a Sheldon Police Officer located the suspect vehicle at the 500 block of Seventh Street. Additional agencies were contacted for assistance, including the Sioux County Sheriff's Office, Plymouth County Sheriff's Office, Cherokee County Sheriff's Office, Le Mars Police Department and Cherokee Police Department, in addition to the Sheldon Police Department, Sanborn Police Department and the O'Brien County Sheriff's Office, which were previously on the case. 

The Special Response Team made contact with Tuttle, who was still seated in the Oldsmobile, and gained entry to the car by breaking a window. Tuttle resisted arrest and officers were forced to deploy a taser to overpower him. When he was placed under arrest, a small baggie of a substance believed to be methamphetamine was found in his pocket, in addition to a loaded 9 mm Kel Tec carbide firearm with a 31-round magazine laying on the passenger seat. 

Tuttle was taken to the Sheldon Hospital for an examination and treatment of minor injuries sustained during the arrest, and was taken to the Sheldon Police Department after he was released. 

During his interview, Tuttle revealed that he had driven around Sheldon after robbing Casey's with the intention of engaging law enforcement in an armed conflict. He also reportedly had plans to rob a bank in Sheldon. 

A search executed on Tuttle's vehicle revealed another loaded 17-round 9mm magazine, drug paraphernalia, a bag with prescription medication, other baggies thought to contain methamphetamine, a digital scale and several face masks Tuttle had planned to use in a bank robbery. 

Tuttle was charged with multiple felonies and misdemeanors, including: first-degree robbery, a class B felony; possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine) with the intent to deliver, a class C felony; felon in possession of a firearm, a class D felony; possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), third or subsequent, a class D felony; unlawful possession of prescription drugs, a serious misdemeanor; possession of drug paraphernalia, a simple misdemeanor; and interference with official acts, a simple misdemeanor. 

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Lifestyles Reporter

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