Strange-acting man had machine gun, drugs
Earl Heltsley, the strange-acting man Carson City sheriff’s deputies subdued Thursday evening, had a home-made machine gun in Kmart with him as well as 35 bindles of methamphetamine and about 30 grams of marijuana in his car, said sheriff’s Sgt. Wade Penegor.
The machine gun was in parts and packaged in a cardboard box, which he brought in to the store and set down near a telephone. The methamphetamine bindles were in a plastic baggy in a gray, fabric suitcase while the marijuana was in a black brief case.
Officers searched Heltsley’s blue, 1986 Mercury Grand Marquis after they obtained a search warrant. The Douglas County bomb squad was called in for the search. A chemical analysis test confirmed the 35 bindles, which had a teddy bear print on them, were methamphetamine.
There has been no explanation yet for why Heltsley, who at one time had a Reno address, had the machine gun inside Kmart.
“If he had had all the parts together –Eacting as strangely as he was — God only knows what could have happened,” said Penegor.
“I wouldn’t have worked from what he had with him at the time,” said Penegor. He said deputies have since found more parts in his car which may have completed the gun.
Heltsley first aroused suspicion Thursday afternoon by offering cash to employees of McDonald’s restaurant, 2001 N. Carson St., to take his car. He later changed his clothing before making his way to Kmart, police said.
At Kmart, deputies said he carried a loaded .38-caliber, five-shot revolver in his pants, a smaller .22-caliber derringer in his pocket and an open switchblade knife in the other pocket. He was subdued by deputies and later tranquilized by emergency medical technicians after he “started getting wild.” He was driven to Carson-Tahoe Hospital for a check up before being placed in the Carson City Jail where he remains today.
Judge John Tatro set Heltsley’s bail at $100,000. Because of the machine gun, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms might take custody of Heltlsey and try him in the federal court in Reno,Penegor said.