Hamilton man sent to prison for cottage break-in.

January 18, 2017
Wade VanGelderen with his attorney, Terry Shaw.

Wade VanGelderen with his attorney, Terry Shaw.

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Hamilton man sent to prison for cottage break-in.

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — A 37-year-old Hamilton, Michigan man was sentenced to two to 10 years in prison in 27th Circuit Court Wednesday, Jan. 18, for breaking into a northern Oceana County cottage last summer.

Wade James VanGelderen pleaded “no contest” last November 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.

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.

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.

Victims of the crime, who are a married couple, addressed the court Wednesday. “We were friends,” said the man. “If I had an extra steak, I would give it to him… He broke in and tried to burn down my cabin.”

“Wade is almost 40 years and has not learned his lesson,” the wife said.

“Mr. VanGelderen, hopefully one of these times you learn a lesson,” said Judge Anthony A. Monton.

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

VanGelderen has been held in the Oceana County Jail on a $100,000/cash/surety bond. He received credit for 210 days served in jail.

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