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Carlisle man charged with defacing church in Middlesex Township

Robert L. Bear, 92, has been accused of similar transgressions at the same church multiple times, dating back to 1996, records show.
Credit: Middlesex Township Police

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — Police have charged a 92-year-old Carlisle man with institutional vandalism after they say he was caught defacing a Middlesex Township church earlier this month.

Robert L. Bear was caught in the act of stapling several copies of a "manifesto" onto the doors and windows of the Reform Mennonite Church on North Middlesex Road, according to police. He was defacing the church and leaving copies of the writings for its members to find, police say.

Bear has been accused of similar incidents at the same church in September 2019 and December 2020, according to arrest records.

He was also arrested twice at the church in 1996, and again in 2014, records show.

He was charged with institutional vandalism and defiant trespass, desecration of venerated objects and disorderly conduct in the September 2019 incident, and with disorderly conduct and defiant trespass in the December 2020 incident, police say.

Bear pleaded guilty to defiant trespass in one of the 1996 incidents; the charges were dropped in the other. He was found guilty of harassment and defiant trespass in the 2014 incident, and pleaded guilty to the charges in the 2019 incident. 

The charges against him in 2020 were dropped, records show.

Bear was previously banned from trespassing on the church's property, according to police.

In the latest alleged incident, which occurred on July 23, Bear was taken into custody and transported to Cumberland County Prison for processing and arraignment.

RELATED: Man charged with vandalizing Mennonite Church in Cumberland County

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