Smithfield man sentenced to probation for breaking into Logan Temple

Booking photo for Peter A. Ambrose (Courtesy: Cache County Jail).

LOGAN — A 35-year-old Smithfield man has been sentenced to probation and to repay damages caused after breaking into the Logan Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Peter A. Ambrose said he was frustrated with the church for not letting him into the temple.

Ambrose was sentenced Tuesday morning, participating in a virtual hearing in 1st District Court. He previously pleaded guilty to burglary and criminal mischief, both second-degree felonies.

Public defender Mike McGinnis said Ambrose suffers from severe mental health issues including Schizophrenia. Earlier this year, he had been admitted into the Utah State Hospital for treatment.

McGinnis said Ambrose vandalized the temple while not taking his prescribed medication. He explained, his client wanted to repay the church for the damage that was done, estimated to be around $15,000.

Logan Temple for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

On December 24, Ambrose was arrested after police found him locked inside a room on the main floor of the temple. He had used a ladder to climb over the building’s exterior fence, breaking the glass doors with an ax and gaining entry into the temple.

Once inside, Ambrose damaged paintings, tore down curtains and used the ax to shatter a mirror. A fire extinguisher was also sprayed over furniture and the floors.

Ambrose was incarcerated in the Cache County Jail and Utah State Hospital for more than four months. He was allowed to be released after pleading guilty to the charges in May.
Judge Edwin T. Peterson, who was temporarily filling the vacancy for Judge Thomas Willmore, credited Ambrose for the time already served but still sentenced him to three more years of probation. He also trespassed the defendant from all church-owned property, without written permission from church leaders.
During Tuesday’s sentencing, Ambrose told the court he had become angry with the church after “paying thousands of dollars in tithing but not being allowed into the temple.” He said, he didn’t intend to hurt anybody, and would continue mental health treatment and taking his medication.

Ambrose was incarcerated in the Cache County Jail and Utah State Hospital for more than four months. He was allowed to be released after pleading guilty to the charges in May.

Judge Edwin T. Peterson, who was temporarily filling the vacancy for Judge Thomas Willmore, credited Ambrose for the time already served but still sentenced him to three more years of probation. He also trespassed the defendant from all church-owned property, without written permission from church leaders.

Peterson added that he could put Ambrose in prison for up to 15 years if he violated probation. He scheduled a restitution hearing for August 25, when attorneys will determine the exact amount of damage caused by the break-in.


will@cvradio.com

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