(Undated) -- An eastern Iowa man's facing charges stemming from fires at a wildlife area. Jerome Goltz of Williamsburg is accused of setting fires at the Hawkeye Wildlife Area, between Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Goltz is charged with third-degree arson, drug charges (methamphetamine possession), and littering after a two month investigation by Iowa Department of Natural Resources conservation officers. During July and August DNR officials noticed an increase in illegal fires set in parking lots, fields, and woodlands in the 14,000 acre Hawkeye Wildlife Area. The DNR says 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.
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 on a chase at the Hawkeye Wildlife Area. Goltz left his vehicle at one point and ran into flood waters of the Iowa River where he climbed a tree, prompting a lengthy rescue effort by Iowa DNR officers, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department, the Iowa State Patrol and local fire departments. Goltz was charged and convicted of eluding, carrying weapons, and possession of methamphetamine.