LOGAN, Utah (KSL.com) — A man was booked into jail following an overnight break-in at the Logan temple Monday, authorities say.
At approximately 3:30 a.m., Logan police received reports that a break-in had occurred at the temple, according to Logan Police Capt. Curtis Hooley. Officers responded immediately and discovered the glass in the main east doors and windows was broken.
Officers then entered the building to search for the person who had broken in, Hooley stated. Over the following hours, police noticed significant damage to items inside, including paintings knocked off the wall and a fire exinguisher that had been smashed into a door vent and set off, an affidavit of probable cause states. Curtains were also torn down, artificial plants damaged, and an ax was recovered from the scene after shattering a mirror and being stuck to a wall.
Officers found a ladder next to an outside fence, and after reviewing surveillance footage, identified the person who had entered the temple as Peter Ambrose, 34, according to the affidavit.
Police could not find the man they were looking for and cleared the scene, but returned when temple workers notified them that the man was locked in a room in the temple, according to the affidavit.
At approximately 7:30 a.m., officers located the man who had locked himself inside one of the temple rooms, Hooley confirmed. Officers spoke to the man through the door, and he came out willingly, was placed in handcuffs and taken in, the affidavit states.
Detectives interviewed Ambrose, who stated that he was unable to see his children during the holidays, “can’t get any LDS girls to date him” and was upset with members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Hooley said. He also said he used a ladder to scale the temple grounds fence, and damaged the temple and items inside it, according to the affidavit.
Ambrose was booked into the Cache County Jail on investigation of bulglary and criminal mischief. Police estimate the amount of damage to the temple to be $5,000.
Police say this was not their first encounter with Ambrose, who is from Smithfield; he was arrested previously on investigation of disorderly conduct at an Instacare, according to the Deseret News. Further court records obtained by the Deseret News from 2012 indicate that Ambrose was convicted of criminal mischief and domestic violence in the presence of a child, for which his probation terms mandated anger management treatment.
Court documents also indicate this was not Ambrose’s first incident in relation to the Logan temple, the Deseret News reports: Police say in 2016 Ambrose was convicted of criminal mischief after he made threats towards others and claimed to have nothing to lose while on temple grounds.
Tuesday, workers were seen entering and exiting the temple with mirrors and other items, and glassworkers were already working to repair the damage.
The Logan temple is hoping to open for regular hours on December 26th, its next scheduled day, though a final determination has yet to be made.
Folau Tupou, a Logan resident and church member, came to the temple after hearing the news.
“We celebrate Christmas tomorrow, and for someone to do this on Christmas Eve … we feel sorry for him, feel sorry for what happened, especially the temple, the house of the Lord,” he said of the incident.
This is a developing story. We will post more information when it is available.
Logan Temple broken into and vandalized, police say