Public Safety

Waterloo man sentenced to 8 years in federal prison on firearms charge

Clothesline thwarted his escape during police chase

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Waterloo man, who led police on high-speed chase and was later nabbed during a foot chase when he got hung up in a clothesline, was sentenced this week on a firearms charge.

Nicholas A. Gilstrap, 27, a convicted sex offender, pleaded guilty last October in U.S. District Court to one count of possession of an unregistered firearm. Gilstrap had a sawed-off shotgun during the high-speed car chase in May 2018 in Waterloo.

U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams sentenced Gilstrap on Monday to eight years in prison. 

Evidence at sentencing shows Gilstrap was a fugitive and his driver’s license had been suspended when officers spotted him in an SUV on May 4. Gilstrap led officers on a high-speed chase through the streets of Waterloo. 

The chase ended when Gilstrap crashed the vehicle into a garage, severely damaging the garage, a car in the garage, and the SUV.

Gilstrap ran from the scene but officers recovered from his vehicle a sawed-off shotgun, trazodone hydrochloride pills (a sedative) and multiple debit cards belonging to other people. The shotgun was loaded and had a slug in the chamber, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. 

On May 10, officers tracked Gilstrap to a house in Waterloo. When officers knocked at the front door, Gilstrap ran out the back door but ran into a clothesline, splitting the bridge of his nose, before officers arrested him, according to evidence at sentencing.

Prosecutors said Gilstrap is a sex offender with an extensive criminal history, including convictions for drunken driving, burglary and failure to comply with sex offender registry requirements.

Williams also ordered Gilstrap to pay $32,540 in restitution to the garage owner, the owner of the SUV and an insurance company that covered some of the damages.

He also must serve three years of supervised release following prison. • Comments: (319) 398-8318; trish.mehaffey@thegazette.com