Authorities have charged 15 people for two-year-old vandalism crimes of the former Wilmot Elementary School in Kenosha County.
According to a criminal complaint related to the case, the suspects used a shovel to break windows, they poured antifreeze down a stairwell, broke toilets, water fountains and basketball hoops.
The accused are all between the ages of 17 and 24. They broke in on multiple occasions to play sports or skateboard in the school, causing nearly $250,000 in damages.
At the time, the building was empty but within hours of being sold to a new owner. The vandals did so much damage, the sale could no longer go through.
"It did definitely hinder us for sure," said Farrah Sonnenberg who owns the Sonnenberg School now located in Pleasant Prairie.
Her dream was to turn the former Wilmot Elementary School into a private school and facility for special needs students.
The vandals caused her to have to back out of the sale and find a new property, delaying her plans by an entire school year.
"It affected me, it affected a lot of families," she said. "We had families that couldn't come with us because it was too far now."
Six of the suspects in these crimes made their initial court appearances this week, on charges ranging from misdemeanors to felonies. Those six people are Steven Perez, 21, Adam Sanchez, 17, Casey Hamm, 21, Collin Robinson, 19, Zachary Jones, 21, and Christopher Kirwan, 18.
The other nine suspects will make their initial appearance over the next several months. Those are Raymond Ewert, 21, Jessica Matthews, 21, David May, 21, Jose Delgado-Cordova, 20, Jacob Madriaga, 21, MacKenzie Neuroth, 24, Kyle Samples, 21, Jessica Velez, 21 and Aaron Working, 22.
Working is currently in the military and his attorneys are working out a time when he can make his initial appearance.
Neuroth is also on active duty with the military according to court records but scheduled to appear in court in June.
Some of the people involved were former students of the Trevor-Wilmot School District.
"To any kids that think that they would do this as a joke, that would possibly do this to any other school or an abandoned building, think about the consequences," Sonnenburg said. "It's much more than just fun and games."
Sonnenberg said six months after the vandalism incident, she ended her involvement with the school district and says she was later approached by a private investor who had purchased the property.
It's unclear who owns the building now.
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