Ohio police have arrested at least three men suspected of participating in a string of break-ins in which the victims have also had their beards and hair cut off and stolen. Authorities believe the mastermind behind the attacks is "renegade bishop" Sam Mullet, who leads a tiny Amish sect called the Bergholz Clan.
Two out of the three arrestees are Mullet's sons: Johnny Mullet and and Lester Mullet. The third arrestee is Levi Miller. Police initially arrested Miller's brother, Lester, but released him after realizing that they had nabbed the wrong Miller. All three belong to the Bergholz clan, which is somehow even less mainstream than the larger Amish community in the area. The local sheriff says the attacks were meant to "humiliate and punish" Amish people who have softened in their views. More arrests are on the way.
Bishop Mullet denies involvement in the attacks, reports WKYC:
"They say I did but they don't believe anything I say," Mullet said, perched atop a bulldozer near the entrance of the road which houses his family enclave. "Because I'm the oldest here and I'm the bishop, I'm responsible."
The alleged attackers' cutting spree is motivated by religion, not criminal intent, he adds:
"It's all religion," he maintained, "that's why we can't understand why the sheriff has his nose in our business. It started with us excommunicating members that weren't listening or obeying our laws. That's where it all started. I didn't know the courts could stick their nose in religion, but that seems what they did here."
Burglary and kidnapping are religious activities! Try using that one the next time you break into someone's house and cut off their beard. Meantime, PSA creators are currently developing a commercial for the Amish Channel in which an angry Amish dad barges into his son's bedroom holding a pair of scissors and a bundle of beards, asks him "who taught you how to do this stuff?," and the son responds, "you, all right? I learned it by watching you."