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Local county trial of man who incited nationwide manhunt after stealing multiple firearms pushed to January

The local county trial of Joseph Jakubowski, a Janesville man who in September was found guilty in federal court of stealing multiple firearms, has been pushed back to late January. Mr. Jakubowski had also sent an anti-government manifesto to President Donald Trump and to several of his own friends and relatives around the time of the robbery.

A jury in Madison found 33-year-old Jakubowski guilty of two federal weapons charges following about two hours of deliberation on Tues, Sep. 26. Jakubowski had taken the stand the previous day, pleading guilty to stealing 18 firearms, two silencers and ammunition from Armageddon Supplies near Janesville on Apr. 4. He will be sentenced for that case on Dec. 20, and faces up to 20 years in prison for the charges.

Jakubowski appeared in Rock County Circuit Court on Thurs, Oct. 19 for his local burglary trial, and he will next take the stand there on Jan. 22. He is being held in Dane County Jail for the time being.

Following the burglary in April, Jakubowski set fire to his vehicle and fled, inciting a massive manhunt that garnered nationwide attention. After 10 days on the lam, he was discovered camping on a farmer’s property about 130 miles northwest of Janesville, and was peacefully apprehended and taken into custody.

During the search, Beloit College campus security director Bruce Heine increased patrol and residential hall security measures on campus and notified the college community of new developments in the manhunt. “There is no evidence that this suspect has ties to the Beloit area … but we ask that you be alert and vigilant,” Heine wrote in a mass email on Apr. 7. 

Although the crimes for which Jakubowski was charged were committed alarmingly close to Beloit’s campus, his flight sent him far from the school, and his actions ultimately appeared to be unrelated to the college. “Thanks to all of you for your cooperation, vigilance and concern for one another during this concerning moment,” Heine wrote following Jakubowski’s apprehension.

Jakubowski was discovered with a copy of a 161-page manifesto addressed to Donald Trump, excerpts and other versions of which his relatives had also received in the mail prior to the incident. The manifesto detailed his belief that the United States federal government is brainwashing and controlling its citizens. Jakubowski wrote, “We the people should be out for these sick minded people belonging to the system! We need to spill their blood!”

He also wrote that government regulations had destroyed his artistic passion and that he wanted to be executed by the President on live television.

In a call to WTMJ-TV of Milwaukee in May, Jakubowski said that he had intended “to go to North Dakota to get off the grid, to go into the wild, to disappear. To be free – of society, the system, government, all of it. It’s all I wanted to do.” He also said that he hadn’t been planning to harm anyone during his time as a fugitive.

Jakubowski was also detained for marijuana possession in 2003 and for domestic violence in 2008.

He will face charges for burglary, theft and possession of burglary tools in the Rock County case in January.

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