The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 18, 2012

Police add 4 more churches to charges against Middleburg teen

MIDDLEBURG — A Middleburg man accused of burglarizing two Beavertown churches and fleeing to Florida when he learned police were on his trail is facing charges in connection with four other church break-ins.

John J. Shaffer II, 18, of 13 Globe Mills Road, was arraigned by District Judge John H. Reed on Monday morning on felony and misdemeanor charges in the four burglaries.

He allegedly stole 72 bags of chips, a 12-pack of soda and juice boxes worth $29 from Grace Reform Church in Adams Township and caused $50 damage to a door.

From St. Paul’s Erdley’s Lutheran Church on Valley Drive in Jackson Township, he allegedly stole $26 worth of snacks and beverages and caused $100 in damage.

Shaffer is also accused of causing $350 in damage while breaking into Zion United Methodist Church in Centre Township and $15 damage at Boyer Mennonite Church on West Ridge Road in Franklin Township.

“I just pray he gets convicted by God and gets right with him,” said Grace Reform Church pastor Dan Robatin. “I have a very forgiving heart. We all make mistakes, and I pray that he asks for forgiveness.”

Shaffer, who has already been charged with the June 13 burglaries at St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Beavertown and Beavertown United Methodist Church, is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail in Snyder County jail on the additional charges of felony burglary and misdemeanor criminal mischief, theft by unlawful taking and receiving stolen property.

He was tied to the string of church burglaries that took place in Snyder County in the past five months after he sold an acquaintance a $420 laptop computer stolen from St. Paul’s.  

Shaffer allegedly took off for Florida after Middleburg police questioned him.

He was picked up on a warrant in late August after he raised the suspicions of the Collier County, Fla., police by asking for directions to the beach at midnight as a hurricane was approaching the coast.

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