A man accused of stealing guns in connection with a possible plan for an attack has been captured in Wisconsin following a 10-day manhunt, authorities said.
Joseph Jakubowski, 32, was taken into custody early Friday morning after authorities responded to a call about a suspicious person on a farmer’s property in Readstown, Wis., authorities said in a statement.
More than 150 local, state and federal law enforcement officials had been searching for Jakubowski, whom authorities suspected of stealing at least 16 high-end firearms April 4 from a gun shop in Janesville, a town not far from Wisconsin’s southern border. Police said he had written a 161-page antigovernment and anti-religion manifesto, which he apparently mailed to President Trump at the White House.
It prompted police to monitor local schools, churches and public leaders as a precaution.
“What could have happened here was a mass shooting; that was our concern,” Janesville Police Chief David Moore said during a news conference Friday afternoon, adding: “That’s not the case.”
Moore said that authorities were fortunate to learn about the manifesto, the burglary and a “very involved plan” and “prompt disappearance.”
“All of this alerted us that we needed a quick and thorough investigation,” he said.
The Rock County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that local authorities in Vernon County received a call late Thursday about a man matching Jakubowski’s description who was camping and refused to leave the area.
About 6 a.m. Friday, officers approached Jakubowski, who was found under a tarp on the property with four handguns, one long gun, boxes of ammunition, a samurai sword, containers of flammable liquid, a protective helmet and vest, and a copy of his manifesto, authorities said. He was taken into custody without incident, authorities said, and is being taken to Rock County to face charges.
Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden said during a news conference April 7 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.
“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.
Spoden said during the news conference that Jakubowski sent numerous copies of his manifesto to friends and associates, calling for a “revolution” and for the masses to rise up. But, the sheriff said, “quite honestly, the opposite happened,” saying it brought the country together to ensure his capture.
Spoden said in a statement Thursday that authorities in Waukesha County had launched an investigation into a letter purportedly sent by Jakubowski during the manhunt, threatening violence against area churches on Easter Sunday. “Investigators want to again remind the public that Jakubowski is considered ‘armed and dangerous,’ ” Spoden wrote. “Direct sightings of Jakubowski should be called into ‘911’ immediately.”
At the news conference Friday, authorities said they determined during the investigation that the letter threatening Easter violence was likely not sent by Jakubowski.
Rock County sheriff’s deputies responded about 8:40 p.m. April 4 to a burglary at Armageddon Gun Shop in Janesville, where surveillance footage showed a man breaking the front door’s 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.
“I can tell you that we don’t know where Mr. Jakubowski is,” Moore, the police chief, said at a news conference at the time. “He could be around Janesville. He could be around Rock County. He may not even be in Wisconsin.”
The FBI was offering up to a $20,000 cash reward for information leading to his arrest.
Spoden, the Rock County sheriff, said at the time 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 were not aware of any threat toward a specific school, school district, church or religious institution.
Authorities said that they had responded to tips and leads and searched numerous locations to find Jakubowski, whom they described as armed and “highly dangerous.”
Police also said they had learned that he had acquired a bulletproof vest and helmet.
Moore, the Janesville police chief, said last week that 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 has been updated.