Former John Burke Correctional Inmate Makes Initial Appearance On Felony Escape Charges

(Beaver Dam) A former inmate at the John Burke Correctional Center in Waupun, accused of committing various crimes while on work release, made his initial appearance in a Dodge County courtroom Thursday. James Pederson is facing felony Escape as well as multiple Take Vehicle without Consent charges, Burglary and misdemeanor Theft and Criminal Damage to Property. On December 3rd of 2018, a supervisor of Northwoods Paper Converting in Beaver Dam allegedly told authorities that Pederson stole a co-worker’s vehicle and left the worksite. The car was later located on the shoulder of County Road E, just down the road from another vehicle Pederson reportedly took and crashed into a ditch. Pederson also allegedly stole a vape device from a parked car, attempted to hotwire a truck and took a pair of sunglasses and a set of keys from a mudroom. The 38-year-old later returned to the worksite, in a third vehicle he reportedly stole, and was taken into custody. When questioned about his actions, Pederson allegedly said that he had (quote) “no idea” and that “it doesn’t make any sense to [him].” If convicted, Pederson faces no more than 56 years in prison. A judge will decide next month if there is enough evidence to order a trial.