Skip to main content
You are the owner of this article.
You have permission to edit this article.
Carlisle man arrested on new charges in decades-old fight with Middlesex Township church
editor's pick alert top story

Carlisle man arrested on new charges in decades-old fight with Middlesex Township church

  • 0
Robert Bear

A 92-year-old Carlisle man faces new charges related to his decades-old fight with a Middlesex Township church.

Robert L. Bear was charged with two felony counts of institutional vandalism after an incident Friday in which Middlesex Township police found him stapling several copies of a manifesto to the doors and window covers of the church.

As of Wednesday morning, Bear was in Cumberland County Prison, unable to post $100,000 bail.

A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Aug. 2 in front of Magisterial District Judge Paul M. Fegley.

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.

It’s been almost two years since Bear last faced charges related to his dispute with the Middlesex Reformed Mennonite Church. In that case, Middlesex Township Police caught him in the act of gluing more than 30 posters to the church’s walls in September 2019.

According to court documents, a felony charge of institutional vandalism and misdemeanor charges of defiant trespass, disorderly conduct and desecration of historic lots and burial places were withdrawn following that incident. He was, however, found guilty of summary counts of defiant trespass and disorderly conduct in a nonjury trial by Judge Jessica Brewbaker with no further penalty imposed.

Bear has been in and out of both civil and criminal court for decades in his fight with the church.

He was excommunicated from the church in 1972, which estranged him from his wife and six children.

His case drew national attention in 1979 when he was charged with kidnapping after carrying his wife to his truck while at the West Shore Farmers Market. He was acquitted of those charges.

In 2016, he was found guilty of a felony charge of gluing posters to the church and sentenced to serve seven to 23 months in Cumberland County Prison, followed by three years probation.

Email Tammie at Follow her on Twitter @TammieGitt.


Sign up for our Crime & Courts newsletter

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


News Alerts

Breaking News