Full Story: Neighbors React To Jim Sideras Arrest

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – After a week, the Sioux Empire finally has answers to questions surrounding former Sioux Falls Fire Chief Jim Sideras.

The Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office confirms Monday that Sideras has been arrested on 10 counts of child pornography.

This new development stems from an investigation that began in Massachusetts.

That’s where authorities began to connect email and IP addresses.

The investigation also led authorities to San Antonio, Texas, before Sideras’ arrest in Sioux Falls.

“The Sheriff’s vehicles were in front of the house and I said there’s something going on,” says Eldon Anderson, a neighbor of Sideras.

Last week, authorities searched Jim Sideras’s home.

But according to court documents released Monday, the investigation actually began with a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on April 26th.

Investigators linked a Yahoo! email address that was on the receiving end of child porn images to IP addresses registered to Jim Sideras at his home on Magnolia Avenue.

The images contained pictures of females as young as 8 years old.

The email account that sent the images is already being investigated for child pornography in Massachusetts.

Investigators also linked another IP address to the Yahoo! email, this time in a San Antonio Texas hotel in August of 2016.

Authorities found twitter pictures that Sideras posted from a fire department accreditation event during that same time in San Antonio.

“It’s shocking whenever you hear any news like that because it usually comes, [we’re] completely unaware,” says another neighbor, Bill Kubat.

Neighbors of Sideras say they never expected to hear anything like this.

“When it’s a person of that stature, that significance in the community, it’s just all the more tragic,” says Kubat.

“It’s rather surprising,” adds Anderson. “Especially when he’s ready to retire.”

The search warrant states that the email account linked to Sideras was created in July of 2010.

During the search warrant, detectives collected 22 items from Sideras’ home including an i-phone, an external hard drive, and a safe.

The City of Sioux Falls released a statement on today’s development.

In it, Mayor Mike Huether says: “this has been extremely troubling from the onset, and the charges outline why this process is being handled in such a cautious and deliberate fashion.”

The city went on to say that the terms of Sideras’ “separation of employment” are a personnel matter and confidential.

Sideras’ arrest comes nearly one month after he announced plans to retire in June after almost 34 years with fire rescue.

That announcement came during an April 11 press conference with Mayor Mike Huether.

He also announced that he had accepted the executive director position with the South Dakota Healthcare Coalition.

On May 2nd, the South Dakota DCI and the Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office conducted a search of Sideras’ home.

Later that day, the City of Sioux Falls announced that Sideras’ employment was terminated, effective immediately.

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