[UPDATED] Robert Ellsworth Shorter Jr., Ex-Guard Accused of String of Burglaries at TBN Headquarters

UPDATE, FEB. 24, 9:11 A.M.:

A fired security guard is being arraigned in Newport Beach this morning for allegedly stealing from what we assume must be a bejeweled donation box given the


set holding it:

The sparkly Trinity Broadcasting Network headquarters is across the 405 from South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa.

Robert Ellsworth Shorter Jr., 38, of Garden Grove, could get eight years and four months in state prison if he is convicted of the nine felony counts of second-degree commercial burglary filed against him.

Shorter, who was fired for sleeping on the job in 2008, is accused of entering televangelist couple Jan and Paul Crouch's temple of schlock nine times in the summer of 2010 with a gate-pass code no one bothered to change after his termination.

He'd go to the donation box, turn it upside-down and shake it until envelopes slithered out, according to the Orange County district attorney's office (OCDA), which adds TBN is unsure how much money was actually stolen.

Oh, prosecutors say many of Shorter's break-ins were captured by surveillance cameras and some videotapes show him wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with "God is Good." At least he'll be comforted if he winds up in the pokey.

Here is the OCDA statement on today's arraignment:

February 23, 2011


NEWPORT BEACH - A former security guard will be arraigned tomorrow for stealing from the donation box at Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) after breaking-in in the middle of the night. Robert Ellsworth Shorter Jr., 38, Garden Grove, is charged with nine felony counts of second degree commercial burglary and faces a maximum sentence of eight years and four months in state prison if convicted. Shorter is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department H-2, Harbor Justice Center, Newport Beach.

In 2008, Shorter was fired from his job as a security guard for TBN in Costa Mesa for sleeping on the job. On nine occasions between July and September 2010, Shorter is accused of entering the secured TBN property late at night or early in the morning using a gate pass-code he obtained during his employment.

Once on the property, Shorter is accused of taking a roll-up door remote from the visor of unlocked security vehicles and using the remote to open the roll-up gift shop door.  The donation box was also kept inside. Shorter is accused of stealing donations from the donation box by turning it upside down and shaking it to make the envelopes fall out. The financial loss to the victim is unknown.

On each of the nine occasions, Shorter is accused of being captured on video surveillance during the theft. He is accused of often wearing a blue t-shirt with "God is Good" written in white.

A TBN property manager reported the thefts to the Costa Mesa Police Department (CMPD) on Sept. 17, 2010, after recognizing the defendant in a surveillance video. Shorter was arrested at approximately 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 19, 2010, on the property of TBN by CMPD. The defendant is accused of wearing the blue shirt matching that seen in the surveillance video at the time of his arrest.

Deputy District Attorney Nikki Chambers is prosecuting this case.  

ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 20, 2010, 1:11 P.M.: Before being fired several years ago, Robert Shorter was a security guard at the worldwide headquarters for Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) in Costa Mesa.

So, it was unusual that the 39-year-old Yorba Linda resident would be walking out of the opulent eyesore across from South Coast Plaza after 3 a.m. Sunday.

Police claim Shorter had not only just burglarized the building but that he is responsible for a string of hits to the donation boxes and corporate offices there. Perhaps the devil made him do it.

Trinity Broadcasting Network
The scene of the crime.

Responding to a call of a suspicious man lurking about the facility lorded over by swishy televangelist

Paul Crouch

and his wigged-and-painted wife,

Jan Crouch

, police set up a perimeter around the illuminated Grecian nightmare.

Shorter then strolled out at door and toward his car in the parking lot, where cops stopped and arrested him for burglary.

"It appears that he has returned several times since then gaining access with either a key or access code," Costa Mesa police Sgt. Patrick Wessel reportedly told the Orange County Register.

Security guards who have not been fired from TBN are now checking video surveillance tapes to determine how often Shorter swang by and how much gold, frankincense and myrrh he may have spirited away.


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