LOGAN — The 34-year-old Smithfield man suspected of breaking into and vandalizing the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints made his first appearance in court. Peter A. Ambrose was defiant and rambled, telling the court it had no authority to charge him for breaking into a house of god.
Ambrose was arraigned in 1st District Court Thursday morning, appearing by video from the Cache County Jail. He was charged with criminal mischief, a second-degree felony; and burglary, a third-degree felony.
Ambrose was arrested Tuesday morning after police found him locked inside a room on the main floor of the temple. Evidence suggests he had used a ladder to climb over the building’s exterior fence, break the glass doors and gain entry into the temple.
Once inside, Logan City police officers allege Ambrose damaged paintings, tore down curtains and used an axe to shatter a mirror. A fire extinguisher was also sprayed over furniture and the floors.
During Thursday’s court appearance, Ambrose told the court that he broke no earthly laws and couldn’t be charged for breaking into a house of the lord. He continued to shake his head as he was informed of the pending charges against him, stating that he had let his emotions get the best of him.
Public defender Bryan Galloway told the court that he had known Ambrose, who suffers from mental health problems. He said the suspect experiences manic episodes if he doesn’t take his medication.
Ambrose told the court that he was angry about some “personal problems,” at the time the crime occurred. He said he should have just taken his medication or smoked cannabis, which he claimed helped his diabetes.
Judge Kirk Morgan set Ambrose’s bail at $5,000. He also ordered him to appear again in court December 30.
Police allege Ambrose has had prior involvements with the church. He has been trespassed from the temple and other buildings before.
Ambrose did not enter a plea to the charges. He could face up to 15-years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.
It is estimated that Ambrose caused around $5,000 in damages to the temple. The building was closed Tuesday and Wednesday for the Christmas Holiday. It reopened Thursday morning.