Charges continued to mount against a former Bergen businessman who authorities say has been letting himself into pricey homes when their owners aren’t around.
In the span of only a few weeks, Peter McElkenney was caught after breaking into homes in Franklin Lakes, Oakland and Wyckoff, local authorities said.
He then skipped his court appearance in Wyckoff but went to court in Oakland – where borough police promptly arrested him on an outstanding warrant.
They turned McElkenney, 43, over to their Wyckoff colleagues, who sent him to the Bergen County Jail last Thursday.
A judge ordered McElkenney released barely 24 hours later, records show.
It’s been a precipitous fall for McElkenney, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1996 to 2000 and has officially listed previous residences in Ringwood, Wanaque and Fort Lee.
Once a respected businessman, he’d apparently had been squatting in an unrented house on Lakeshore Drive in Oakland for several months before the landlord became aware of his presence, neighbors there said.
McElkenny then "set up house" in another home in Franklin Lakes -- and took a few of the victim's valuables, said police who charged him with burglary, theft and trespassing.
He was sent to the Bergen County Jail and quickly released under New Jersey’s 2017 bail reform law.
Within days, McElkenney was caught squatting again, this time in Wyckoff.
SEE: A Franklin Lakes resident returned home in the middle of the night to find an apparently homeless businessman from Oakland staying there, said authorities who arrested the alleged intruder.
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