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Hunt for Jakubowski: Schools downplayed; much remains unknown

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Frank Schultz
Thursday, April 13, 2017

JANESVILLE— After eight days of searching for Joseph A. Jakubowski of Janesville, investigators are less worried about an attack on a school than they were last week.

But where Jakubowski is and what he plans to do remain unknown.

Many schools in the area tightened security or went into soft lockdown last week, and some of them closed for a day.

School officials must decide what to do as many local schools are scheduled to resume classes next week after spring break, said Rock County Sheriff Robert Spoden and Janesville Police Chief Dave Moore, who sat for interviews with The Gazette and other news media Wednesday.

The new thinking about Jakubowski's possible intentions will be part of what law enforcement will share with school officials, they said.

Only one source, an acquaintance, has suggested Jakubowski might want to attack a school, Moore said.

Another source supplied a 161-page manifesto Jakubowski wrote and sent to the White House. That document focuses on Jakubowski's thoughts about government, religion, societal elites and police but not schools, Spoden said.

Moore said the major concern comes from the combination of anti-government and anti-religious sentiment in Jakubowski's writing, together with the 18 firearms, ammunition and silencers he is accused of taking in the burglary of a gun shop near Janesville on April 4.

Police learned from an associate early on April 5 that Jakubowski might be planning violent acts, which triggered the manhunt and an infusion of federal law enforcement officers and equipment to Janesville.

“Right now the FBI is putting more resources on this, and I think this speaks to the national concern for this investigation,” Moore had said.

Jakubowski also sold all his possessions so he could go online and buy a bullet-resistant vest and helmet, Moore said.

The facts point to a plan, Moore said, but authorities have no idea what the next step of the plan might be.

“At this stage, we can't rule anything out. We have to go under the assumption that (a mass shooting) may be a possibility,” Spoden added.

But so far, no harm has come to anyone, Spoden noted.

“So there is a way for him to resolve this without anybody being hurt, including himself. And that's what we want. We want this resolved in a peaceful manner. We understand he has concerns and grievances against the government, against society. He has made that known to us, and those things we can discuss. But we can't discuss this when there's such a level of concern in our community for everybody's safety.”

Spoden said Jakubowski calls for a revolution, but he doesn't specify what form that uprising should take, although there's a sense of urgency.

“Time for a change,” and “Game on!” are phrases he uses, the men said.

Spoden said the manifesto speaks of the government and of elites using the police to control the masses.

It is “extremely well written,” Spoden said, and it was hand-printed, so it obviously took a long time to produce.

Jakubowski had given a copy of the document to an acquaintance, who gave it to investigators. An identical version was sent from the Janesville post office to the White House.

Moore noted the manifesto was sent to the White House, not local leaders, so it would appear Jakubowski wants a nationwide uprising.

The manifesto does not suggest any specific place, time or event that Jakubowski might target, Moore said, but the indication of a plan suggests an “end game” that remains unknown.

“That plan might be far, far away, and it could be in our area. We don't know,” Moore said.

Moore and Spoden indicated they have no idea where Jakubowski is, but federal, state and local investigators are checking out leads nationwide.

A tip apparently led investigators to an outbuilding at a residence on County F west of Janesville on Wednesday, where a Gazette photographer saw officers with weapons and ballistic vests.

The photographer also observed the officers with a small off-road vehicle along Pennycook Road, not far from where Jakubowski allegedly burned his car the night of the burglary.

Investigators have noted that with the improving weather, Jakubowski could be hiding outdoors, Spoden said.

Those who know Jakubowski have said he changed in recent months, coinciding with the January loss of his job at Best Buy, where he sold car stereos, Moore said.

The changes included more anger and something the sources had not heard before: discussions of anti-government and anti-religion ideas, Spoden said.

The sheriff's office is the lead agency in the investigation, with Janesville police working closely with the sheriff's office, the men indicated.

Also working the case are officers and technicians from a variety of state and federal agencies, most prominently the FBI, which has two mobile offices parked near the Rock County Health Care Center.

Spoden and Moore arranged for FBI Special Agent in Charge Justin Tolomeo to give a Gazette reporter a quick tour of some of the rooms where investigators are working.

About 30 people were at work in the “emergency operations center,” a large room with tables and telephones on the grounds of the county health care campus.

Different groups receive phone tips and deliver those to case agents, who track down the leads. Other groups manage the SWAT-equipped officers who provide security to investigators in the field.

Negotiators, profilers and others working the case are using other rooms.

Tolomeo pointed to a large blue and white FBI trailer from Chicago whose inner workings are so secret, he said, that he couldn't show them to a reporter.

A second, larger trailer known as The Silver Bullet was driven from FBI headquarters in Virginia. It contains all the resources of any FBI office, including 35 computer workstations.

Investigators shut down their computers before the reporter was allowed inside, said Supervisory Special Agent Ron Peterman.

The Silver Bullet was used on the site of the mass shooting at the Orlando, Florida, nightclub last year, as well as the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Peterman said.

Tolomeo would not discuss the technology the FBI deploys, other than to say that social media are monitored.

Spoden said investigators are working on Jakubowski's life story, interviewing people who have known him recently and through the years.

“We're trying to put together an overall profile of him, so that, hopefully, that will give us some information about what he may be planning for the end game,” Spoden said. “How does he see this ending?”

It's a scary thought. Moore had this advice for local residents: “People need to lead their lives, go about their business, but do so in a cautious manner. Lock your doors. Lock your vehicles. Be aware of your surroundings. If you see suspicious activity, call law enforcement.”

Many cases around the country have been solved because someone saw something and reported it, Moore noted.

Other items from Spoden and Moore, along with a news release sent Wednesday night:

-- There has been no confirmed sighting of Jakubowski, in reality or online, since April 4.

-- The sheriff's office announced Wednesday morning that investigators have received about 650 tips through tip lines dedicated to the case and that they were pursuing more than 125 tips.

-- It appeared in previous accounts of the burglary that just a minute passed from the time of the alarm to the time the first officer arrived, but the burglar escaped.

Many alarms have five- or 10-minute delays so the owner can cancel the alarm if it is set off accidentally, Spoden said. So it's likely the burglar had more time than previously reported to steal the guns and escape.

-- Investigators know of no links Jakubowski might have to political or other organizations, but they are but not ignoring that possibility.

-- Investigators have no information to suggest Jakubowski graduated from high school. The Janesville School District said he left Parker High School early in his sophomore year, and records indicate he went into home schooling.

-- Jakubowski has worked as a roofer and construction worker and had a “side business” installing car stereos, Moore said.

In a letter written to a judge in 2011, Jakubowski said he was working in construction “from sunup to sundown” six or seven days a week.

In a letter to another judge, he said he had “lost” his family and was glad he was incarcerated because it took him away from alcohol and “the painful memories of my family.”

-- Many local deputies and police are working more than 12 hours a day, and overtime costs are mounting as increased patrol units are on the streets.

Spoden said the sheriff's office estimated $30,000 in overtime costs as of Wednesday.

-- The Wisconsin Lottery has published an alert with a photo of Jakubowski and instructions to call 911 to all terminals in the state, according to the release. The terminals are in gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores and elsewhere.

-- The "BOY" tattoo on Jakubowski's right upper arm is no longer applicable, as law enforcement learned he more recently covered up that tattoo with a newer one, according to the release.

-- Previously released documents, such as the post office video and the criminal complaint filed against Jakubowski, are available online at www.co.rock.wi.us/sheriff-jakubowski.

-- Spoden said patrols will focus especially on religious activities and other events over the upcoming Easter weekend.

-- Asked how long the officers keep up this pace, Moore said officers are scheduled through Monday, and then officials will reassess.

Of course, the hope is that the situation will be resolved before then.



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