SALT LAKE CITY — A Smithfield man has admitted to breaking into the Logan Utah Temple the morning of Christmas Eve, part of a plea deal with prosecutors designed to spare him prison time.
Peter Abraham Ambrose, 34, pleaded guilty in Logan’s 1st District Court Tuesday to criminal mischief and burglary, both second-degree felonies. A statement of facts supporting his guilty plea says he did “intentional damage.”
As part of a plea bargain and in exchange for his guilty pleas, prosecutors recommended no prison time and agreed he should receive credit for more than four months he has spent in the Cache County Jail, court records show.
Police said Ambrose broke into the historic Logan Utah Temple of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints just before 3:30 a.m. on Dec. 24 by using an ax to shatter the glass on one of the main doors.
Inside, officers found “an ax smashed through a mirror and stuck into the wall,” paintings torn down, plants and curtains damaged, and fire extinguisher residue “all over the floor and furniture,” with the extinguisher lodged in a vent on a door, police said. Damage was estimated at $5,000.
Temple employees discovered Ambrose hiding in a locked room and summoned police to arrest him. He allegedly told detectives he was upset because it was Christmas and he couldn’t see his kids and because he “can’t get any LDS girls to date him,” according to police.
The Logan temple was first dedicated on May 17, 1884. It was the second temple the church built after Mormon pioneers settled in the Utah territory.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 16.