Erie fugitive charged with home invasion captured in Henry County

Sheriff: Verkruysse taken into custody without incident

Jake R. Verkruysse

DIXON - An Erie man shot in self-defense and charged with home invasion who went on the run has been captured in rural Henry County, the Lee County Sheriff said Wednesday.

Jake Verkruysse, 41, of Erie, was taken into custody Tuesday in rural Henry County, by the Henry County Sheriff’s Office and the Illinois State Police.

“Verkruysse was taken into custody without incident and taken to the Henry County Jail,” Lee County Sheriff Clay Whelan said in a news release. “Verkruysse was later transferred to the Lee County Jail where he is being held on a warrant for escape.”

On Oct. 16 at 11:49 p.m., deputies responded to a home in the 100 block of East Bassett Street in Nelson for a report of an individual that had been shot in the throat, and they later found the scene of the shooting in the 400 block of South Butler Street.

Verkruysse was transported to KSB Hospital with a life-threatening gunshot wound to the throat, and he was airlifted to a Rockford area hospital for stabilization and further treatment, according to police.

Verkruysse and two others were arrested last week in connection with the incident, which investigators say was drug-related. Verkruysse was charged with home invasion, mob action and criminal damage to property less than $500. Bond was set at $150,000, and he was released on a recognizance bond due to ongoing medical conditions.

As a condition of his release, Verkruysse was fitted with a GPS monitoring device and was to be confined to his residence in Erie, Whelan said. He was only authorized to leave for court appearances or previously approved medical appointments.

Verkruysse removed the GPS monitoring system during the early morning hours Saturday, and a new arrest warrant was issued on charges of escape and failure to comply with a condition of the electronic monitoring or home detention program. Bond on the new charges is set at $500,000.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office investigation in locating Verkruysse was assisted by the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center (STIC), the Whiteside County Sheriff’s Office, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office, the Illinois State Police, the Lee County States Attorney’s Office, the Erie Police Department, and the Prophetstown Police Department.

James L. Ballard, 45, of Dixon, was arrested Friday and charged with mob action and criminal damage to property under $500.

Lisa R. Johnson, 41, of Dixon, turned herself in on Friday at the Lee County Sheriff’s Office after being charged with mob action and criminal damage to property less than $500.

According to Whelan:

“The charges from this incident allege that the three individuals went to the residence in the 400 block of Butler Street without lawful authority, for the purpose of doing violence to the person or property. It is also alleged that they inflicted injury to the person or property.

“As a result of the unlawful assembly at the residence, the occupant took possession of a firearm to protect themselves. Verkruysse was shot after he entered the residence in a forceful manner. The use of deadly force in this instance has been reviewed by the Lee County State’s Attorney’s Office and has been deemed as justified. Investigators believe that the incident appears to be drug related.”

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Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers

Rachel Rodgers joined Sauk Valley Media in 2016 covering local government in Dixon and Lee County.