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Butte man sentenced to 13 years in prison for armed robberies in Missoula, Helena and Butte

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Nov 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-18 22:36:35-05

MISSOULA — A Butte man who robbed at gunpoint three businesses in three cities in five days was sentenced Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, to 13 years in prison, to be followed by five years of supervised release.

Thomas Scott Cockrill, 50, pleaded guilty in July 2021 to three counts of robbery affecting commerce and to brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence.

U.S. District Judge Dana L. Christensen presided.

The government alleged in court documents that on Feb. 9, 2021, Cockrill robbed Blackjack Pizza in Missoula and brandished a handgun at an employee. Later that same evening, Cockrill held up at gunpoint an employee of the La Quinta Inn in Helena. Four days later, on Feb. 13, 2021, Cockrill robbed the Elevated Dispensary in Butte and brandished a handgun at an employee. Each business lost several hundred dollars in the robberies. Cockrill admitted to law enforcement that he owned three firearms and robbed the three businesses.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tara J. Elliott prosecuted the case, which was investigated by the FBI’s Montana Regional Violent Crime Task Force, Helena Police Department, Missoula Police Department, Butte-Silver Bow Law Enforcement and Montana Probation and Parole.

This case is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to reduce violent crime. Through PSN, federal, tribal, state and local law enforcement partners in Montana focus on violent crime driven by methamphetamine trafficking, armed robbers, firearms offenses and violent offenders with outstanding warrants.