Police investigate letter threatening Easter church attacks

AP News
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Posted: Apr 13, 2017 11:31 PM
Police investigate letter threatening Easter church attacks

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) — A fugitive accused of stealing numerous weapons from a Wisconsin gun store sent an anti-government manifesto to the White House that deemed the government a band of terrorists controlled by churches, saying "We need to spill their blood," a Milwaukee television station reported Thursday.

Joseph Allen Jakubowski has been the subject of an intense manhunt since the April 4 burglary at Armageddon Supplies near Janesville, a city about 60 miles southwest of Milwaukee. Police said video shows Jakubowski mailed a bulky envelope the same day, and his burned vehicle was found near the store, but that he hasn't been seen since.

WTMJ-TV posted 35 pages of handwritten documents to its website that it said were verified as Jakubowski's writings by an unidentified law enforcement official. Rock County Sheriff's Office Commander Troy Knudson said the writings appeared genuine.

Separately, law enforcement officials said on Thursday they were investigating a letter purportedly sent through the U.S. Postal Service by Jakubowski threatening attacks on churches on Easter Sunday. Authorities said the letter mentions the Sussex area about 25 miles northwest of Milwaukee. They added that the authenticity of the letter "is in question."

Also on Thursday, authorities backed away somewhat from concerns that Jakubowski planned attacks on schools. Local police also clarified that the manifesto made no specific threat against President Donald Trump.

The pages posted online are numbered 93 through 160 but skip almost every odd number, suggesting the TV station received only one side of each page. In them, the writer claims the government was trying to brainwash its citizens through taxes, religion and health insurance.

"We the people should be out for these sick minded people belonging to the system! We need to spill their blood!" the document reads, going on to say priests and churches control U.S. presidents and banks.

The writer states he will not bring harm or violence to anyone, unless "these terrorist gangs continue their terrorism on human life and force my hand to protect and defend the honor and dignity of life!"

Investigators have said a manifesto written by Jakubowski details a long list of grievances against the government and law enforcement.

Janesville Police Chief David Moore said law enforcement was initially on high alert for a potential attack on schools because the person who tipped him off about Jakubowski said he had "made some mention of schools."

"That has been reduced significantly because when we looked at the documents written by Mr. Jakubowski there is little indication of schools in there. I hope that this information gives some comfort to our communities," Moore said Thursday.

Moore also said Jakubowski "has concerns with Trump," but his manifesto doesn't mention a specific threat.

A criminal complaint filed in Rock County, where the gun shop is located, charges Jakubowski with stealing 18 guns, including a fully automatic M-16 assault rifle, two gun silencers, weapon parts and magazines.

Sheriff Robert Spoden said investigators believe Jakubowski may have given copies of his manifesto to other people, but they don't know how many. But investigators have released few other details about what Jakubowski wrote and said little about what they believe he'll do.

Jakubowski has had several run-ins with law enforcement over the years. Most were for traffic violations, though he has previously resisted arrest and once tried to disarm an officer, according to Moore. More than 150 local, state and federal officers have been working to find him.

Authorities have urged the public to call with information of his whereabouts but they're warning people not to approach him. Spoden urged Jakubowski to turn himself in.

"No one has been hurt. Sometimes we make a mistake and those mistakes we can correct and work through. So far what Joseph has done is correctable and we encourage him to do the right thing for his community, his family, and go to an authority and turn himself in," Spoden said.

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Ehlke reported from Milwaukee.