BANGOR, Maine — Church leaders at Columbia Street Baptist Church noticed over the last several weeks that someone was breaking in, cooking food and leaving their dirty dishes behind.
They reported the crime to the Bangor Police Department and Sgt. Bob Bishop and Detective Dave Bushey organized a sting operation that took place at 11 p.m. Wednesday and led to the arrest of two local homeless men, Sgt. Paul Edwards said Thursday.
“Several officers went to 64 Columbia St. to look through a church,” the sergeant said. “They had reports of homeless people going in there over the last few weeks. They were cooking and leaving a mess.”
Richard A. Brooks, 36, and Anthony Buerhaus, 42, were found inside the church asleep on a couch during the nighttime raid, Edwards said.
“A back door was propped open,” the sergeant said. “They had somehow rigged it so they could get in.”
Both Brooks and Buerhaus were charged with felony burglary, as well as theft for the food taken, and Brooks was given an additional criminal mischief charge for rigging the door, Edwards said. Both men were taken to Penobscot County Jail and remained there Thursday morning, he said. Both men face up to five years in prison, If convicted of the felony burglary charges.
Buerhaus was indicted by the Penobscot County grand jury in January on a violation of sex offender registration charge, according to a Bangor Daily News story about the indictments.