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Mauston man charged after 'jumping' victim then hiding in closet trap-door basement
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Mauston man charged after 'jumping' victim then hiding in closet trap-door basement

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A Mauston man was arrested after he allegedly attempted to elude officers by hiding in a basement accessible only by trap-door from a closet after “jumping” a man by Kwik Trip.

Thomas Wolff, Jr., 46, is charged with felony bail jumping, repeater; misdemeanor battery, repeater; misdemeanor obstructing an officer, repeater; and misdemeanor disorderly conduct, repeater. If convicted of the felony charge, he faces up to six years in prison or a fine of up to $10,000, or both.

As Wolff has prior misdemeanor convictions for failure to provide aid/report a crime and two convictions for misdemeanor bail jumping within a five-year period prior to this arrest, he faces an additional two years in prison for each charge due to the repeater modification.

According to the criminal complaint:

At about 12:29 a.m. Sept. 27, Officer Blake Fish of the Mauston Police Department was dispatched to a motel in Mauston for a report of a male stating he had been “jumped” by a Mauston Kwik Trip. Fish had previously been dispatched to the area by the Kwik Trip for a report of two males fighting at 11:16 p.m. Sept. 26, but Fish was unable to locate the individuals during that call.

Fish reported to the motel and was met by the victim. The victim appeared “in bad shape” and was coughing up blood. Fish requested Mauston EMS to provide medical attention.

The victim told Fish that his girlfriend was at Thomas Wolff’s house when he received messages from her which concerned him. The victim walked to Wolff’s house and, upon arrival, heard Wolff stating the victim was a liar and had cheated on his girlfriend. The victim then accused Wolff of lying.

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Wolff went to the garage and grabbed a large piece of wood and attempted to swing it at the victim. The victim got Wolff to the floor where they exchanged blows. Another man exited the house and began kicking and punching the victim. During the scuffle the victim managed to grab the piece of wood and swung it, hitting Wolff in the head. As the victim tried to flee he heard Wolff click open a knife.

Officer Fish went to the location of the altercation where he searched for evidentiary items, finding two pieces of wood which appeared to be one piece before breaking. He also located the victim’s phone and other personal items, and what appeared to be blood spatter on the sidewalk.

After going to the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office to speak with deputies, Fish and the deputies attempted to locate Wolff at his residence. Upon arrival, Fish observed a male in the kitchen that matched Wolff’s description.

As Deputy Rebecca Weber approached the rear entrance, she observed Wolff run toward the front of the residence. She entered and called Wolff’s name but he did not respond. Fish, fearing Weber might be in danger, entered the residence from the front door.

Weber located a trap door in a closet. Fish opened the door, announced “police department,” and took out his Taser as he was entering the basement. Fish approached a closet style room in the basement and announced several times “police department, if anyone is down here make yourself known” with no response.

Weber and Fish entered the closet as Wolff stepped out. Wolff had a large knife on his belt which Fish quickly removed. Wolff was turned around and his hands placed behind his back.

Fish observed dried blood on Wolff’s head and a laceration, which Wolff stated was a result of being hit in the head with a bat the previous night. Wolff was unsteady and had difficulty staying balanced. As they were escorting Wolff out of the basement Wolff hit his head on a low hanging piece of wood in the basement.

Wolff is scheduled for a plea hearing Dec. 29 at the Juneau County Justice Center.

Reach Christopher Jardine on Twitter @ChrisJJardine or contact him at 608-432-6591.

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