Inmate charged in Beaver Dam crime spree

May 1, 2019

JUNEAU — A prison inmate who left a job site and went on a crime spree in the Beaver Dam area faces additional charges in Dodge County Circuit Court.

James Pederson, 38, faces felony counts of escape, three counts of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, and two counts of burglary. In addition, he faces four counts of misdemeanor theft and two counts of criminal damage to property. If convicted of all of his offenses, he could face an additional 58 years in prison.

According to the criminal complaint, Northwoods Paper Converting, 230 Corporate Drive, reported around 2:40 a.m. on Dec. 3 that Pederson had taken car keys, debit and credit cards from an employee at the factory and left in the employee’s car.

That vehicle was located by a Beaver Dam Police Officer at 5:45 a.m. on the shoulder of Highway E and Hillendale Parkway. According to the criminal complaint, Pederson entered another person’s property and stole that person’s car and then crashed it on Highway E, where police located it.

A Beaver Dam K-9 was sent out to track the suspect, but staff at Northwoods Paper reported he returned to work shortly after 6:35 a.m. in a Jeep that police discovered was taken from a residence on Highway E. Police found items hidden in the Jeep that appeared to be stolen.

At 11:12 a.m. Dec. 3, a town of Beaver Dam resident reported that someone had been on his property the night before and provided police a video of someone who looked like Pederson with a time stamp of 4:47 a.m.

According to the criminal complaint, Pederson was uncooperative in the Beaver Dam Police Department and was taken to Dodge Correctional Institution in Waupun. He requested an attorney when being questioned by police.

The Department of Corrections told Beaver Dam Police that Pederson, who has been incarcerated since May 21, 2012, was at John C. Burke Center since Feb. 2, 2016. Pederson was authorized by the Wisconsin Department of Corrections on Nov. 30, 2017, to work at Northwoods Paper Converting.

Pederson is currently serving time in Stanley Correctional Institution for a June 2012 conviction of homicide by intoxicated use of a motor vehicle and aggravated battery. Pederson was sentenced in Trempealeau County Circuit Court to seven years.

According to the LaCrosse Tribune, Pederson had gotten into a bar fight in November of 2011. Pederson left the bar and a deputy responding to the fight was diverted to a single-car crash where he found Pederson in the car cradling his dead 19-year-old brother.

Pederson’s initial hearing is scheduled for May 13.

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