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Arson investigation in park leads state conservation officers to troublesome Iowa man

JOHNSON COUNTY, IOWA – An arson investigation in a large park led state conservation officers to an Iowa man.

Jereme Goltz, age 49 of Williamsburg, faces charges including two counts of third-degree arson, felony possession of a controlled substance- methamphetamine (3rd or subsequent offense), and littering following a two-month long investigation by Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officers.

During the months of July and August, DNR officials noticed an uptick in the number of illegal fires being set in parking lots, fields, and woodlands located within the 14,000-acre Hawkeye Wildlife Area. The fires damaged trees, fields, and parking lot posts and destroyed multiple hay bales owned by a farmer leasing a portion of the state land.

As a result of the investigation, DNR conservation officers, along with the Iowa Department of Criminal Investigation and the Iowa State Patrol executed a search warrant at Goltz’s residence in Williamsburg. There, officers seized electronics, evidence relating to the fires, as well as methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

In 2019, Goltz led an Iowa conservation officer in a vehicle pursuit at the Hawkeye Wildlife Area. During the chase, Goltz left his vehicle and fled on foot into flood waters of the Iowa River where he climbed a tree. A lengthy rescue effort by Iowa DNR officers, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Iowa State Patrol and local fire departments to remove Goltz from the tree. Goltz was charged and convicted of eluding, carrying weapons, and possession of methamphetamine.

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