MUSKEGO — When Joseph Jakubowski crawled out from under a blue tarp at a rural Vernon County farm, he was so desperate for food that he pleaded with Muskego resident Jeff Gorn, the farm's owner, to pay him all the money he had, $9, for an apple.

Taken aback and feeling sorry for this stranger, Gorn remembers, "I said, 'Bud, what have you even been eating?' and he pointed at the grass."

"He was spent," said Gorn who ultimately told authorities of Jakubowski's whereabouts, ending a 10-day, nationwide manhunt.

Jakubowski is suspected of stealing 18 weapons from a Janesville gun shop, mailing a manifesto threatening violence to President Donald Trump and setting his truck on fire.

Gorn applauded authorities for pulling out all the stops to find Jakubowski.

"He started out strong, so the FBI and everybody were right to react," he said. "But in the end, he was spent."

Gorn said he knew authorities were searching for the Janesville man, but it seemed preposterous that the ragged fellow before him could be the fugitive.

Asked why

He asked the stranger why he was there.

"I'm off the grid," he said simply.

Thinking that the man was somebody who just wanted to get away from everything, for whatever reason, Gorn remembers retorting, "You're not off the grid, you're on my grid."

But then he said, "I saw the despair in his eyes."

That tugged at his heart. Gorn, who holds a clinical psychology degree, counseled students and families as a school counselor for many years and as superintendent for 21 years of the Norway Joint 7 School District.

"Tell me your story," he told the man who was soon to be arrested.

Deer stands

But before that, he wanted to know why the stranger chose this particular place to hide out.

"It's strategic," was his answer.

In hindsight, Gorn surmises that by strategic, Jakubowski meant that the several deer stands on Gorn's property and that of his neighbor would give him a good view of any approaching police.

"You can see anything coming for miles," Gorn said.

In fact, Gorn was visiting the farm located about a mile outside the community of Viola and about three miles from Kickapoo High School, to reorganize the stands.

He came upon the makeshift camp about 4:20 p.m. Thursday, April 13.

Although the two shook hands, Gorn said this stranger was intense and extremely angry.

That anger wasn't directed at him, rather at the direction society is going, he said. There was sadness, too.

"He told me a million times, there's no way back," Gorn said.

As the more than hour-long conversation about life and society progressed, Gorn suspected that the troubled stranger was less a person who was running away from life, than a person running away from authorities.

Gorn then made a heavily veiled suggestion that the fatigued man might be Joe Jakubowski. A tiny flicker warned Gorn that this encounter could turn deadly.

Truth hits

"I don't know how this is going to go," he said. "My insides were gut-wrenching."

He broke the conversation by saying he would think about bringing the stranger the apple he had asked for.

"I wanted him to need me — as my only way out," he said.

Gorn will never forget driving his four-wheeler away from his disturbed acquaintance, who could have been heavily armed. Gorn did not see any weapons.

"Those 100 yards were some of the toughest moments I've had," he said.

Was it really?

Back in safety, he debated whether the stranger had actually been the fugitive everyone was looking for. But he decided, even if it wasn't, somebody could be worried about him. So, he picked up the phone and called the Vernon County Sheriff's Department about 6:30 p.m.

What happened next was like out of a movie.

Law enforcement officers from 27 agencies converged on his farm. By 8:30 p.m., the teams started into the dark field. A plane soared far overhead, he said. Every house in the neighborhood had three officers assigned to it.

Gorn helped them pinpoint where Jakubowski was, picking out the heat signature corresponding to where he had left the fugitive.

In the early morning of Friday, April 14, authorities moved in. Jakubowski surrendered peacefully.

Read or Share this story: http://www.muskego-newberlinnow.com/story/news/local/muskego/2017/04/17/muskego-man-engages-potentially-deadly-dialog-leads-capture-fugitive/100568502/