GREAT FALLS – A federal jury on Tuesday convicted a man accused of stealing a firearm from a pawn shop in Helena, U.S. Attorney Kurt Alme said.
After a two-day trial that began on Monday, the jury found Jeffrey Robert Igoe, 60, a transient, guilty of possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful taking of firearm from licensed firearm dealer. Igoe faces a maximum 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and three years of supervised release.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian M. Morris presided. Chief Judge Morris set sentencing for March 10, 2021 and ordered Igoe detained.
“Stealing a handgun can lead to a dangerous situation. I want to thank Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Clark, the Helena and Bozeman police departments and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for investigating and prosecuting the case,” U.S. Attorney Alme said.
In court documents and at trial, the prosecution said the evidence showed that on Jan. 6, Igoe entered Modern Pawn in Helena and spoke with the manager. Igoe asked the manager to look up information on the computer. While the manager was doing that, Igoe went out of the manager’s sight, opened a glass display case, removed a firearm and put it in his pocket. Igoe then closed the display case and left the store.
The manager thought it was odd that Igoe left without the information he requested, so he reviewed the surveillance video. The video showed Igoe opening the glass case and taking the firearm, a 9mm Sig Sauer. The manager called law enforcement, which issued a notice to look out for Igoe. A Bozeman police officer located Igoe later the same day, detained him and found the firearm during a search.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Clark prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the Helena Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
This case is part of Project Guardian, a Department of Justice initiative launched in the fall of 2019 to reduce gun violence and enforce federal firearms laws. Through Project Guardian, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the District of Montana is working to enhance coordination of its federal, state, tribal and local law enforcement partners in investigating and prosecuting gun crimes. In addition, Project Guardian supports information sharing and taking action when individuals are denied a firearm purchase by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System for mental health reasons or because they are a prohibited person.