Swanville man faces charges in connection to church burglaries

Posted May 05, 2009, at 7:52 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 30, 2011, at 12:09 p.m.

ELLSWORTH, Maine — A Swanville man is facing more than a dozen criminal charges in connection with a string of burglaries that included break-ins of at least six churches in Hancock County.

Jeremy P. Bishop, 35, of Swanville faces 15 charges of burglary, theft, criminal trespassing, criminal mischief and aggravated criminal mischief, according to documents on file at Hancock County Superior Court. He was indicted last month by a Hancock County grand jury and last week pleaded innocent to the charges in Superior Court in Ellsworth.

According to court documents, Bishop burglarized the houses of worship between July and October of last year. He is accused of illegally entering the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Bucksport on July 22 and July 30; St. Francis Episcopal Church in Blue Hill on Aug. 5; Emmanuel Baptist and Family Bible churches, both in Ellsworth, on Aug. 6; and St. Dunstan Episcopal and Maine Coast Baptist churches, both in Ellsworth, on Oct. 17.

Items Bishop is alleged to have taken during the burglary spree include a computer printer, a microwave oven, a refrigerator, a stereo, a guitar, a telephone, a chair, a gasoline can, a safe and office supplies. He also is accused of causing more than $2,000 in damage to doors at St. Francis Church in Blue Hill.

It was not clear Tuesday whether Bishop has a defense attorney. Court documents indicate he applied for court-appointed counsel on Monday. Attempts Tuesday to contact Ellsworth defense attorney Charles Helfrich, who advised Bishop the day Bishop pleaded not guilty, were unsuccessful.

Bishop has appeared in court on the charges, but it was not clear from court documents whether he has been formally arrested on the charges. He was not being held at the Hancock County Jail on Tuesday, according to jail officials.

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