A Kenosha man is accused of breaking into the pump room of the former 7-Mile Motel, and trying to steal the water tank and other metal parts for scrap.

Jacob Elder, 26, was charged Tuesday in Racine County Circuit Court with one felony count of burglary, and one misdemeanor count each of possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana. If convicted, he faces up to 15-1/2 years in prison.

Burglary Suspect leaves truck at the scene

According to the criminal complaint, Caledonia Police were alerted Friday to a possible fire at the motel because the alarm went off. When officers pulled into the parking lot, they observed a man – later identified as Elder – running from the scene and leaving his truck.

Police say despite setting up a perimeter and using a K9 unit, they were unable to locate Elder, whom they identified as the owner of the truck. They observed that the pump room door had been forced open, and the water tank with other piping had been removed. The owner of the property confirmed that the pump room door had been undamaged and its contents were intact before the alarm sounded.

In Elder’s vehicle, officers saw copper pipes and burglary tools in plain sight, and a search of the vehicle turned up marijuana, pipes, and a grinder in the center console, the complaint continues. Another citizen who lives near the motel provided a photo of of a suspect from the burglary taken by a trail camera on the south side of the property.

Elder blames Mooney

A few hours later, police say Elder phoned the police department a few hours later to ask how he could retrieve his vehicle. When he arrived at the station, he changed his story several times, including blaming a man named Mooney that Elder said is his brother-in-law who told Elder to run because Mooney was afraid of going back to prison. Elder also identified Mooney as the man in the photograph provided to police.

Mooney is not listed on the inmate list at Racine County Jail, but court records indicate a $10,000 warrant has been issued for a Charles Mooney, 32, a Winthrop Harbor, IL, resident.

Elder was assigned a $500 cash and a $2,000 signature bond at his initial appearance and ordered to provide a DNA sample. He will next be in court Oct. 18 for his preliminary hearing.

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