Federal and local law enforcement in Wisconsin are still searching for a 32-year-old man they say stole numerous guns in connection with a possible plan for an attack, prompting police to monitor schools, churches and public leaders.
Authorities said that more than 150 local, state and federal agents have been working for nearly a week to locate Joseph Jakubowski, who is suspected of stealing at least 16 high-end firearms Tuesday evening from a gun shop in Janesville, a town not far from Wisconsin’s southern border. Police said he had also written a 161-page antigovernment and anti-religious manifesto, which was mailed April 4 to President Trump at the White House.
As a result, police increased patrols at local churches Sunday and contacted school districts for the week ahead to advise them Jakubowski remains at-large.
“I can tell you that we don’t know where Mr. Jakubowski is,” Janesville Police Chief David Moore said during a news conference late last week. “He could be around Janesville. He could be around Rock County. He may not even be in Wisconsin.”
Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said Friday during a news conference that investigators determined Jakubowski had been “highly agitated by national politics.” Authorities said in a statement that his 161-page manifesto included “grievances against government and personal angst towards anyone or anything other than natural law or rule.”
Police also released a cellphone video of Jakubowski mailing his manifesto to Trump.
The FBI has evaluated his manifesto “to better understand his mind-set,” Spoden said.
“It’s really a long, laundry list of injustices that he believes the government and society and the upper class have put forward on the rest of the citizens,” Spoden told reporters about the document. “So there’s really nothing specific where he’s saying, ‘I was wronged in this way’ or ‘I was wronged in that way.’ It’s just an overview that he feels that the government, and law enforcement in particular, are acting as terrorists and are enslaving the people and creating this environment that he finds unacceptable.”
Investigators are still trying to determine when Jakubowski wrote it.
“Whether it’s the president or whether it’s local officials or whether it’s law enforcement, he basically has a dislike for anyone that has authority or governmental power,” Spoden added.
When asked whether authorities considered Jakubowski a terrorist, FBI special agent in charge Justin Tolomeo, told reporters only, “We have interest in him in regard to his ideology.”
Rock County sheriff’s deputies responded about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday to a burglary at Armageddon Gun Shop in Janesville, where surveillance footage showed a man break the front door glass, police said in a statement.
About 30 minutes later, a vehicle fire was reported near the scene. Authorities said the car was registered to Jakubowski and that the burglary and arson incidents appeared to be connected.
Jakubowski was missing.
“Mr. Jakubowski is considered a suspect in both incidents and is currently wanted by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office for questioning,” the Rock County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement.
The FBI is offering up to a $10,000 cash reward for information leading to his arrest.
Spoden, the Rock County sheriff, said Friday that an associate of Jakubowski told investigators that Jakubowski had been upset over a variety of political issues. Police also learned that he had discussed a plan to steal weapons and use them to carry out an attack against public officials or an unspecified school. As a result, Spoden said, “law enforcement passed this information on to local schools so that they could take the appropriate cautionary measures.”
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office said investigators are not aware of any threat toward a specific school, school district, church or religious institution.
Fox6Now reported that on Thursday, several schools in the Janesville area initiated “soft lockdowns.” On Friday, public schools in Janesville and Milton as well as the University of Wisconsin at Rock County and Blackhawk Technical College were closed, according to the Associated Press.
Authorities said that they have responded to more than 320 tips and leads and searched a dozen different locations to find Jakubowski, whom they described as armed and “highly dangerous.”
Police also said they had learned that he acquired a bulletproof vest and helmet.
Moore, the police chief, said Jakubowski has had run-ins with local authorities, including one incident in which he tried to disarm an officer.
But, he said, police had not seen his “antigovernment or terrorist-type” behavior.
“That is a new element for all of us,” Moore said. “Most of his activities have been anger-driven either toward the officers or toward other individuals, but not the antigovernment rhetoric, and that is a new piece to this investigation.”
This story, which was originally published April 7, has been updated.