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A report of a possible burglary in progress Tuesday night in the Village of Union Grove led to arson charges being filed Wednesday in Racine County Circuit Court against two men.

Zachary G. Ailes, 19, of Franksville, is charged with felony counts of arson of property other than a building, burglary and possession of marijuana, which carry a total fine of $45,000 and 19 years, six months in prison.

Ailes also is charged with misdemeanor counts of criminal damage to property and disorderly conduct, which carry a total fine of $11,000 and a year in county jail.

Parker John Burch, 18, of Mount Pleasant, is charged with felony counts of arson of property other than a building and burglary, which carry a fine of $35,000 and 16 years in prison, along with a misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property as a party to a crime, which carries a fine of $10,000 and nine months in jail.

Both defendants made their initial court appearance Wednesday.

2 men charged with arson

According to the criminal complaint:

A deputy with the Racine County Sheriff’s Department met with a complainant, who stated that Ailes was in her house. While police were en route, they were informed that Ailes was attempting to start a truck on fire in the parking lot next to the house.

After Ailes was taken into custody, police observed smoke coming from the back of a red Ford. In the bed of the truck, they found a small piece of rubber that was on fire but it was quickly extinguished. The complainant stated she found a door to her house open and found the defendant inside.

When she confronted him, he started calling her names and shouted to her that she should call the police. When he tried to get into the truck, another man prevented him, which made Ailes angrier. He then grabbed used gas from a gas can to start a fire in the back.
Ailes also reportedly took a multi-port charging device from a room the house, along with a cell phone.

Police spoke to the other man, who stated he had come to the house to purchase the red truck. The man stated he saw Burch slumped over the front of the car. The man further stated he knew the two defendants had used marijuana and pills, specifically Xanax.

Ailes reportedly came out of the house acting belligerent and attempted to get into the truck. When the man wouldn’t allow him to enter the vehicle, he dumped gas in the bed and lit a fire with a lighter provided by Burch, the complaint states.

Police observed that entry had been forced into the home. They also found a wallet that belonged to Ailes and contained 5.4 grams of marijuana. An additional 1.5 grams of marijuana was found in Ailes’ possession at the jail.

Burch and Ailes are due back for a preliminary hearing Aug. 16 at 8:30 a.m.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.