The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

June 26, 2013

Church burglar pleads no contest to 11 felony counts

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— MIDDLEBURG — A 19-year-old Middleburg man linked to a rash of church break-ins last year pleaded no contest to 11 counts of felony burglary in Snyder County Court on Tuesday.

John J. Shaffer II entered a no-contest plea to the most serious charges and the court dismissed lesser charges of misdemeanor and summary theft, receiving stolen and criminal mischief in connection with the burglaries of 10 churches and one market.

Shaffer also pleaded no contest to misdemeanor simple assault in connection with an attack on a fellow Snyder County Jail inmate last fall. Shaffer remains in jail in lieu of $50,000 bail pending sentencing later this summer.

District Attorney Michael Piecuch said he will seek a state prison sentence.

Shaffer was linked to several church burglaries last summer and was arrested in late August in Collier County, Fla., where he fled after learning he was wanted by police.

Shaffer was charged with stealing a laptop computer, snacks and refreshments and causing damage to several churches, including St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Beavertown; Grace Reform Church in Adams Township; St. Paul’s Erdley’s Lutheran Church in Jackson Township and Zion United Methodist Church in Center Township.