A Pierceton woman is facing a fraud and a drug charge after two separate incidents over the last four months.

Sarah Elizabeth Elder, 39, of 1363 S. CR 450E, Pierceton, was arrested and booked into the Kosciusko County Jail Nov. 21 for fraud and possession of methamphetamine, both level 6 felonies. Her total preliminary bond was set at $10,500.

The charges stem from two separate incidents.





Court documents filed Nov. 21 on the fraud charge state that on Sept. 3, Warsaw Police Department officer Jaime De la Fuente responded to a fraud at Wyndham Gardens Hotel in Warsaw. He spoke with a hotel employee who said he received a telephone call from a woman who said her credit card had been used at the hotel on Sept. 2 for $487.24 without her permission. The hotel employee said the reservation was made online and the name on the room was Dustin Alsman with the victim. The victim told the employee she did not know who Alsman was.

Officers went to the rented room and could not get anyone to answer the door. They obtained a master key and found the exterior window was open and the screen had been punched out. Officers saw drug paraphernalia inside the room.

De la Fuente spoke with the victim who said she went to the ATM to get funds using her credit card and found there was insufficient funds in her account. She said she believed Elder and her boyfriend were suspects because they had been at her residence for two days before Aug. 31. They were the only people that had been at her to get her credit card information. She said she believed Elder got her card from her purse and made the reservation at the hotel and then placed the card back into her purse.

Officers obtained a search warrant for the room and searched it, finding a keychain with the name Sarah on it. On Sept. 12, WPD Det. Ryan Coble sent a Facebook message to Elder, asking her to contact him reference property that was left at the hotel. She responded with a “thumbs up” emoji.

WPD officer Paul Heaton spoke with Elder who said she was in the room but the victim rented it for her.

Court documents filed Nov. 26 on the possession of methamphetamine charge state that on Nov. 21, Winona Lake Police Department officer Michael Foster saw a blue Chevrolet make an improper lane change on U.S. 30 near Van Ness Road.

During the traffic stop, all three persons in the vehicle were identified, including Elder as the driver.

WLPD officer Joseph Bumbaugh used his K-9 to detect drugs and the K-9 made a positive alert, but no drugs were found in the vehicle by officers.

A warrant was served on Elders and she was taken to the Kosciusko County Jail where officers found a plastic bag containing methamphetamine. It weight 1.4 grams.