Two Milwaukee residents, Elizabeth Perry-Rydz, 36, and Brandon Wantroba, 20, have been charged with entry into a locked building after being arrested recently at the Kickapoo Indian Caverns in rural Wauzeka.
Perry-Rydz and Wantroba made an initial appearance on the charge before Judge Lynn Rider in Crawford County Circuit Court on Monday, May 22. If convicted of the Class A Misdemeanor, they may be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than nine months or both.
The charge stems from the alleged forced entrance into the Trading Post building at the Kickapoo Indian Caverns, according to the criminal complaint. On Monday, Wantroba appeared in court wearing a tan suit, with his blonde hair slicked back, large jeweled rings were seen on several of his fingers. Wantroba was represented in court by his attorney, Jeffrey Warren Erickson.
When asked by Judge Lynn Rider if he had received the criminal complaint filed against him and if he understood it, he answered audibly, “Yes ma’am,” while blushing slightly and looking over his shoulder.
When Rider asked Wantroba how he pleaded to the charge, the defendant’s lawyer informed the court his client would stand mute. Rider then entered a not guilty plea on Wantroba’s behalf. Wantroba is scheduled to have a jury status hearing on Wednesday, July 5 at 10:30 a.m.
Perry-Rydz appeared without legal representation at the hearing. She stated that she did not qualify for a public defender due to her income level.
Perry-Rydz appeared in court wearing a white turban, long black dress and red velvet high-heeled shoes, as well as wearing large rings on her fingers and heavy makeup on her eyes.
“No one in Milwaukee will represent me in Crawford County,” Perry-Rydz told the court. She explained that she had been in contact with other law firms in the area that indicated they would represent her only if they were court-appointed. She also stated that she had an appointment with the Key Law Firm later that afternoon.
Judge Ryder advised Perry-Rydz to meet with the Key Law Firm, but if they were unable to work something out, she could file paperwork with the court for a court-appointed lawyer.
Perry-Rydz has an adjourned initial appearance scheduled for Wednesday, July 5, at 2 p.m.
In 2009, Perry Rydz was found guilty of two counts of prostitution-sexual contact in Appleton, according to court records.
The incident came to the attention of the Crawford County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday, May 10, when Seth Adams, owner of Adams Auction and Realty, reported there was a vehicle parked at the Kickapoo Indian Caverns, according to the criminal complaint. He also reported to the sheriff’s department that the vehicle had a sign and other items that belonged to the Kickapoo Indian Caverns inside of it.
Crawford County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Steve Wagner met with Adams, who stated that he is the real estate agent for the property and has it for sale and is in lawful possession of it at this time.
Adams explained that on the premises, there is a residence where a previous owner/operator of the Caverns lived, and another building called the Trading Post, which was used as the entrance of the Caverns.
Both the residence and the Trading Post are locked, Adams stated. The real estate agent also noted that the padlocks to the two side doors of the trading post had been forcibly removed and the doors were nailed shut, according to the criminal complaint. Adams further stated that on the front door of the Trading Post, the deadbolt had been changed.
Upon inspection, Sergeant Wagner stated that he had heard some movement from inside the Trading Post, so he told anyone who was in there to come outside, several times, according to the criminal complaint. Wagner stated that no one came outside so he picked up a pry bar, which was located outside the door and began to force the door open.
Wagner stated that a voice from inside stated they would come out, according to the criminal complaint. A male and female party came out of the Trading Post and were identified as Wantroba and Perry-Rydz.
Wagner stated that Perry-Rydz told him that she and Wantroba had found the property for sale online and decided they would move into the property and take adverse possession, a seldom-used law. Adverse possession allows the occupation of land to which another person has the title with the intention of possessing it as one’s own.
Following questioning at the site, Perry-Rydz and Wantroba were taken into custody under suspicion of burglary and transported to the Crawford County Jail to await a bond hearing. They were subsequently released on a signature bond in the amount of $1,000 each.
According to the criminal complaint, Perry-Rydz stated that it was their intent to stay in the residence located at the Kickapoo Indian Caverns, but when they entered they found the house, “too far gone” to clean or stay there. So, they moved into the Trading Post.
After further questioning the suspects told deputies that they had been staying at the property periodically over the past month and planned to claim the property as their own and name the property “Silent Grove,” according to the criminal complaint.
Once the suspects were removed from the property, deputies and investigators cleared the building and cave and discovered food, beds, clothes, personal hygiene items, digging tools, etc.
Adams reported that there was some damage to the Trading Post, but it was minor, According to the criminal complaint. Adams stated that there were some items missing from the Trading Post, but they, too, were minor and mostly found inside Perry-Rydz’s vehicle parked outside.
Adams also stated that he had given no one permission or consent to enter either the residence or the Trading Post, to damage either, or to remove any items from either, according to the criminal complaint.
According to an acquaintance of the pair, both Perry-Rydz and Wantroba are members of a religious group named the United Council of Magna Verta and were looking for places to survive a potential nuclear attack on the United States.
A statement made on the United Council of Magna Verta’s Facebook page on May 13 said, “America is going to hell in a handbasket. And Americans will experience it all first hand, you all thought everything you’ve done to earth would go unpunished but it hasn’t and won’t. You’ve raped the earth and you’re filth and now she’s reaching back up and reclaiming the soil. World War III is coming, it is beyond the horizon all organizations are preparing for the worst possible. You all think this is a joke but it is coming and this time it’s not just North Korea against us. China is against us and Russia with it. Many others could play a part in America’s demise.”