Hamilton man faces prison for cottage break-in; arson charge dropped.

November 21, 2016
Wade VanGelderen with his attorney, Timothy Hayes. Oceana County Sheriff's Office Sgt. Shari Sailor is pictured in the background.

Wade VanGelderen with his attorney, Timothy Hayes. Oceana County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Shari Sailor is pictured in the background.

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Hamilton man faces prison for cottage break-in; arson charge dropped.

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — A 37-year-old Hamilton, Michigan man faces a minimum two-year prison term for breaking into a northern Oceana County cottage last summer. Evidence at the cottage indicates that someone tried set it on fire in an attempt to cover up the crime, Oceana County Prosecutor Joseph Bizon said.

Wade James VanGelderen pleaded “no contest” in 27th Circuit Court Monday, Nov. 21, to a felony count of breaking and entering with intent.

VanGelderen was initially charged with two felony counts of second-degree home invasion and attempted second-degree arson, which were dismissed in a plea agreement. His prison time will be capped at a minimum of two years, said Bizon.

VanGelderen was staying at a family cottage last summer where some items were stolen. Items inside the cottage next door were also stolen, Bizon said.

“We believe someone tried to set the place on fire to cover up the crime,” Bizon said. There was evidence that a gas line had been tampered with, and a candle was lit. The candle was never able to ignite the gas line, because an open window in the cottage created ventilation, he said.

Items taken from the cottages include alcohol, large furniture, a weather radio, a large stuffed tiger and other miscellaneous items, Bizon said.

The breaking and entering charge is a more serious crime than the attempted arson charge, Bizon said.

Sentencing is set for Wednesday, Jan. 18, at 9 a.m. VanGelderen was remanded to the Oceana County Jail where he is being held on a $100,000/cash/surety bond.

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