LISTEN: Man who found Jakubowski didn't know his identity
VIROQUA—The Vernon County landowner who reported the whereabouts of Joseph Jakubowski didn't know whom he'd been talking to when he called authorities, according to a recording of the call released Thursday.
Landowner Jeff Gorn called a Vernon County Sheriff's Office dispatcher to report a strange man on his property the night of April 13. During the call, the dispatcher appeared to eventually realize the man Gorn was describing was Jakubowski, the subject of a national manhunt.
Gorn described the tattoos and other physical characteristics of the man he found living under a blue tarp on top of a hill in his woods.
Federal, state and local authorities surrounded Jakubowski's campsite the next morning and took him into custody.
Jakubowski faces state and federal charges related to a burglary of a gun shop in the town of Janesville on April 4. Jakubowski had been missing since the burglary and was the focus of a nationwide manhunt.
Authorities feared Jakubowski was planning a mass-casualty event, which led to lockdowns and closings of schools April 6 and 7.
“Is there anybody out there in the area that you guys are looking for?” Gorn asked the dispatcher at one point.
Gorn told the dispatcher the man in his woods said he was living off the grid and that he had sent out 25 copies of a letter, an apparent reference to the 161-page, handwritten document that Jakubowski mailed to President Donald Trump.
The letter “had to do with telling the government the things they were doing wrong and how he was going to change it all,” Gorn said.
“He's done things now, that there's no going back, is what he said, and that kind of threw me for a loop,” said Gorn, who described himself as a retired counselor.
“He was real serious about that, that he has made some threats,” Gorn continued.
Gorn described the man as rough-looking and “kind of awkward.”
The man was camping under a blue tarp on the tree line between Gorn's and another property, and the man told Gorn he chose the spot so that he could see anyone approaching.
“We talked about eating. He wanted me to bring him some food,” Gorn said. “He told me he's been eating grass to survive.”
Gorn said he didn't feel comfortable taking the man food. He gave the man until the next day to vacate the property.
Gorn talked to a Vernon County deputy a short time later and sounded fearful, saying he had just seen a photo of Jakubowski online: “It's him. It is the guy. … It's definitely him.”
Gorn told the deputy Jakubowski didn't seem to have a vehicle and said Jakubowski had asked for a ride.
Jakubowski is suspected of burning his own vehicle on a rural town of Janesville road shortly after the burglary. Authorities have not said how Jakubowski got to Vernon County, about 125 miles northwest of Janesville.
The FBI offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to Jakubowski's arrest. A spokesman in the FBI's Milwaukee office said Thursday that a decision on the reward "is still being determined."
Gazette reporter Jake Magee contributed to this story.