VIOLA, Wis. - The nationwide manhunt for 32-year-old Joseph Jakubowski ended after more than a week early Friday morning in rural Viola on the Richland-Vernon County borderline.
Jakubowski was wanted in connection with the April 4 burglary and theft of multiple firearms from Armageddon Supplies, a gun and ammunition store in Janesville, and the arson nearby of a vehicle registered to him less then 30 minutes later.
Authorities said he also wrote a 161-page manifesto to President Donald Trump, and made threats to schools, police and government. He was believed to be armed and dangerous.
Since then, multiple agencies including the FBI have been working to find him, and at 5:50 Friday morning, he was peacefully captured in rural Viola after a man found him camping on his property.
"This morning, officers and many citizens throughout the country are breathing a sigh of relief,” Vernon County Sheriff John Spears said.
Former school superintendent and guidance counselor Jeff Gorn said this is the time of year he likes to get out and about in the woods on his Viola property.
On Thursday around 4 p.m., he noticed a blue tarp, which turned out to be the shelter of a man he didn't recognize.
"I just stopped to ask him what he was doing, and as he started to explain how he was now going underground and didn't want to be a part of society, I just talked about that with him for a while,” Gorn said.
Gorn spoke with the man for about an hour and said he was personable, but Gorn had a feeling something wasn't quite right.
"Those little tingly things you get that something's wrong here,” he said.
He called authorities, who had him look up Jakubowski online.
"I had no clue who he even was," Gorn said.
Once Gorn confirmed a match, Spears said over 100 officers from different agencies helped set up a perimeter around the 150 acres, and just before 6 a.m., they captured Jakubowski peacefully.
"How that appeared on my property here in Viola was unbelievable, in my opinion,” Gorn said. "I hope he does get the help he needs."
Local sheriff’s departments are thanking Gorn for his help, but Gorn says he gives all the credit to the law enforcement agencies.
"Police had to be coordinated, organized, and had to make sure everything was the way it needed to be for everything to come out with nobody hurt,” he said.
Most can agree, in Viola and beyond, that there's plenty to celebrate.
"This is a Good Friday in more than one way,” Spears said.
According to the FBI, Jakubowski was found with a copy of his manifesto, a number of guns, ammunition and a samurai sword.
He is currently in custody in Rock County, and is charged in federal court with stealing firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer.
If convicted, Jakubowski could get up to 10 years in federal prison.
Assisting the Vernon and Richland county sheriff's ffices were:
Crawford County Sheriff’s Office
La Crosse County Sheriff’s Office
Rock County Sheriff’s Office
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Wisconsin State Patrol
Readstown Police Department
La Farge Police Department
Richland Center Police Department
Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation
West Central Metropolitan Enforcement Group
Middleton Fire Department (UAV air support)
Kickapoo Rescue Squad
Vernon County Emergency Management
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