Winfield, Kan. -- A Wichita man is on his way to Connecticut in connection to a 35-year-old warrant.
David Sheets' girlfriend, Colleen, said a U.S. Marshal picked him up today, and they're flying to Hartford, Connecticut.
Once there, his legal council will likely meet with the state attorney general about the case.
A Wichita man waits in the Cowley County jail hoping to hear when Connecticut's Parole Board wants him to appear on a 35-year-old warrant for parole absconding.
David C. Sheets tells KAKE news in a phone interview, "I thought they closed the case a long time ago."
Sheets, then 20 years old, was convicted of felony robbery and served 25 months of a 4 year prison sentence and then paroled.
"I left Connecticut because I had a small child. And I felt if I stayed there, I'd just end up back in jail. I was 22 years old, I believe, at the time. I made a stupid 22-year-old decision."
Sheets says he couldn't find a job in Connecticut, and says he went to Colorado then when a relative offered him work there.
He says he moved to Wichita in 1992. Sheets says he hasn't been on the run hiding from the law. "I own a house in Wichita that I've been in since 1996. I've worked with the same company almost 21 years. I file my taxes every year like everyone else. As far as being on the run where you hear about people changing their identities and everything like that, that wasn't me."
But Sheets' past caught up with him after being stopped for running a red light in Winfield on March 8 while visiting his girlfriend there. A Cowley County deputy ran his information through a national crime database and the 35-year-old warrant popped up.
Sheets asks if Connecticut really wanted him, why are they only catching up with him now?
"If they wanted to find me it would have been very easy to do," Sheets said, and that he's used the same social security number and filed his taxes every year.
Sheets says, "I've been a model citizen."
When KAKE's Chris Frank asked him if he had committed any crimes since then: "No. No, sir."
Now he waits to hear when Connecticut wants him to appear and says he hopes it doesn't ruin the rest of his life.
"To me the punishment doesn't fit the crime, so to speak."
A Cowley County deputy makes what is usually a routine traffic stop of a driver running a red light. That was last Friday evening in Winfield.
But when the deputy runs the man's information through the National Crime Information Center he discovers the driver is wanted on a warrant for absconding on a parole violation in Connecticut --- in 1979.
David C. Sheets was arrested without incident and is in the Cowley County jail, without bond, waiting for Connecticut authorities to pick him up.
Cowley County Sheriff Don Read says, "This guy had an active warrant out of Connecticut apparently was signed in 1979. It was for a parole violation. I think the original charge was robbery."
Sheets was convicted in 1976 as an 18 year old on the felony robbery charge. He served 25 months of a four year sentence and was paroled. He was to remain in Connecticut and meet regularly with his parole officer.
But his girlfriend, named Colleen, who talked to KAKE news on the condition she not be identified says he left Connecticut then because he couldn't find a job there. She says Sheets went to Colorado because a friend had a job for him there.
She says, "He did his time. He did 25 months. He was paroled. He was spending some time in Connecticut trying to obtain a job and do what the parole officer had said and he could not find a job."
She says Sheets got married, raised two children and has only had two different jobs in all that time since 1979.
She says Sheets has lived in Wichita for more than 18 years and has held a job in local machine shop which she says is still being held for him.
She says Sheets was not running from the law.
"We don't understand. He's paid taxes. He's held this job for all these years and not moved. It's not like he's running from the law. He's had his own social security number and his full name. They could have contacted him at any time."
Sheriff Read says, "This is unusual where it's been 35 years. I'm not sure what they're going to do."
But he says Connecticut wants Sheets back. "They already said they wanted him."
Read says he reminds deputies that no traffic stop is routine.
"This is a good example of how just running a red light resulted in someone being arrested and wanted for 35 years. You know it's kind of strange that he would go this long without getting picked up on a warrant like this."
Girlfriend Colleen says, "The state of Connecticut says he has to go in front of the parole board. Should he have maybe done it a little differently? Yea. Should they have contacted him before now? Sure. He just didn't know there was a warrant. There's no telling what they're going to do."