The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


September 26, 2012

Middleburg man faces trial in six Snyder County church burglaries

MIDDLEBURG  — An 18-year-old Middleburg man will be tried in Snyder County on six felony burglary and related charges for breaking into several churches this year.

John James Shaffer II told state police he was looking for a place to stay when he illegally entered six churches between May 28 and June 13, causing damage and stealing several hundreds of dollars’ worth of items.

His grandmother, Rita Brunson, of Middleburg, attended Tuesday’s preliminary hearing at District Judge Lori R. Hackenberg’s Middleburg courthouse. She declined to speak publicly about Shaffer’s alleged crimes, but said he hasn’t had a permanent home recently.

Shaffer waived all the charges to Snyder County Court, including six counts of burglary, four counts each of criminal mischief and criminal trespassing and two counts of theft by unlawful taking.

Since April, about 18 churches in Snyder, Union, Northumberland and Juniata counties have been burglarized.

Shaffer in August was linked to six break-ins after he allegedly sold a $420 laptop computer stolen from St. Paul’s Reformed Church in Beavertown for $60 to an acquaintance who notified police. Shaffer was arrested in Florida on a warrant in late August and is being held in lieu of $50,000 cash in Snyder County Prison awaiting trial.

He’s accused of stealing the laptop, snacks and refreshments and causing damage to doors as he broke into the following churches: St. Paul’s Reformed Church; Grace Reform Church in Adams Township; St. Paul’s Erdley’s Lutheran Church in Jackson Township; Zion United Methodist Church in Centre Township; Boyer Mennonite Church in Franklin Township and Beavertown Methodist Church.


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