Cop stops bicyclist for riding at night with no lights, then learn he has several outstanding warrants

A minor violation for not having lights on his bicycle has landed a homeless man in jail on a $10,000 bond after a Burlington police officer realized the cyclist had several pending arrest warrants.

Jacob Williams, 46, who told police he was homeless, was stopped by police about 2:15 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Central Avenue and Walnut Street for riding his bicycle on a city street without front or rear lights.

During the bicycle stop, the officer checked Williams' record and determined he had numerous warrants for his arrest on charges ranging from felony criminal mischief to not having a rabies vaccination for his dog.

The officer arrested Williams on the warrants and transported him to the Des Moines County jail. At booking, correctional officers discovered .7 grams of methamphetamine in his wallet.

Williams appeared Thursday before District Associate Judge Jennifer Bailey who set his bond at $10,000 cash or surety. She appointed the Des Moines County Public Defender's Office to represent him on a felony charge of second-degree mischief and several misdemeanors counts, including assault while displaying a dangerous weapon, possession of a controlled substance, fourth-degree mischief, allowing animals to run at large and having no rabies tag for his dog.

The charges pending against Williams involve four separate incidents that began April 19 when he broke several windows and ran into a garage door with his vehicle after being evicted from the residence at 914 Argyle Court earlier that day.

He also was accused of threatening people with an axe after he saw them rummaging through his belongings that had been placed on the curb outside his residence about 6 p.m. the same day he was evicted. Williams initially threw a wrench at the group, striking one person in the back of the head as they searched for scrap metal among his belongings.

"Williams then picked up a two-headed axe and began swinging it around," witnesses told police, according to the complaint affidavit unsealed Thursday in Des Moines County District Court. "One of the victims told police (Williams) was mad and wanted them to put his stuff back."

One of the people rummaging through the property told police Williams struck their truck with an axe and broke out the driver's side window.

"The (group) told police they then unloaded the stuff they had loaded into their truck and left the area," court records state. "One of the (group) told police they were scared of being hit with the axe and were too afraid to call 911, so they left the area. Williams then left in a red ’90s model Ford truck."

Neighbors contacted police to report the incident, but everyone had left the area before police arrived.

The next day, police were dispatched to the residence after the owners of the property, Farmer's Savings Bank, reported extensive damage to the house.

When officers arrived, Steve Francis, a bank vice president, told them they had served a "writ of removal and possession notice" on Williams the day before. Francis told police bank employees removed Williams' belongings from the residence and placed them on the curb.

When they left the residence later that day, Williams was in the front yard "hitting his belongings with an axe or sledge hammer."

When bank officials returned to the residence the following day (April 20), "all the windows to the residence had been broken out and the front door kicked in," Smith told police. "Williams' red Ford 150 pickup was backed into the detached garage. Francis said it appeared the truck had been rammed through overhead garage door."

Police talked with several neighbors who said they saw Williams break out windows in the front and back of his residence about 7 p.m. the same day he was evicted. The neighbors also reported seeing him about 8:45 p.m. squealing his tires in the driveway and then ramming his truck into the garage.

Francis told police damage to the residence was estimated to be about $4,000.

Williams also was ticketed several weeks ago for not getting his dog vaccinated for rabies. Officers learned of the incident in the 900 block of Kenilworth Street when a woman reported a black lab had run up and bit her dog twice.

When police arrived, Williams admitted he owned the dog. He said he didn't know it was loose until he heard the woman screaming.

Bailey ordered Williams to next appear in court 2 p.m. Aug. 4.

If convicted, he could face about seven years in prison.