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Detroit — A Canadian man busted while sneaking into the U.S. last summer in a kayak, after telling agents he merely stopped near the Detroit River to relieve himself, has been arrested a second time for being in the country illegally.

Jack Bishop, 49, a sex offender, was arraigned on an immigration charge Friday in federal court after federal agents found him in the country again, this time on a ladder outside a $12.50-an-hour motel in Detroit.

It was the latest arrest for the Canadian man, with an American flag tattoo on his right bicep and a lengthy rap sheet. He has crossed into the U.S. illegally, repeatedly, in a bid to find a good-paying job and ditch a life of crime in Canada — only to end up padding his rap sheet.

“This was his way of trying to start a different life,” said friend Donna Buschemeyer, 71, of Chatham, Ontario, whose sons grew up with Bishop. “He’s one of my bad boys.”

His most recent arrest came 14 months after Bishop drew national headlines in the kayak case.

In June 2014, Border Patrol agents spotted Bishop next to an inflatable blue kayak within a restricted area along the river near Detroit’s Fort Wayne.

“Bishop then stated he was a Canadian citizen, who was out on his kayak and had the urge to urinate, so he decided to make entry into the United States and find a place to relieve himself,” Agent Curtis Gibbs wrote in a court filing.

Agents arrested Bishop and learned he was under investigation for illegally crossing into the U.S. months earlier. They also discovered Bishop’s extensive criminal record dating to 1982. He’s been charged with assault 13 times and is a registered sex offender.

During a 2006 robbery, Bishop assaulted a 95-year-old woman, who suffered a heart attack and stroke, according to court records. He was sentenced to more than six years.

In the kayak case, Bishop struck a plea deal in July 2014. Federal prosecutors were unable to secure a long sentence for Bishop because his Canadian rap sheet could not be considered in U.S. federal court.

“Stated another way, Bishop’s giant criminal record is a ‘freebie’ with no consequences in this court ... ” unless a judge sentenced him to more than six months, Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Varner wrote in a court filing last year.

The Windsor man got six months, was freed two months later and was deported via the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in December.

He was painting motel

The latest charge could finally land Bishop in a U.S. prison for an extended period of time — up to two years.

Bishop returned to the U.S. some time after December, according to court records.

On Aug. 19, Troy Police received a complaint involving Bishop for “suspicious circumstances.” Troy Police notified a federal border enforcement task force, which began hunting for Bishop.

Investigators learned he was driving a white work van with Canadian plates and living at the Fontaine Motel on Woodward, south of Seven Mile.

On Aug. 20, task force officers spotted the white work van outside the pink-and-red motel, known for its distinctive neon sign. When agents arrived, Bishop was atop a ladder, painting the motel, where rooms cost $12.50 an hour, or $45 a night.

A motel employee declined comment Friday.

On Friday, eight days after his arrest, Bishop appeared to be dressed in the same work clothes while being arraigned in federal court.

Bishop, his long blond hair swept into a mullet, wore blue jeans splattered with red and pink paint, matching the motel’s colors. Also splattered was his black, short-sleeve T-shirt, which read “Prisoner’s Justice Day” on the back.

He said little during the brief court appearance other than to pronounce his name, confirm that he’d read the criminal complaint and request a court-appointed lawyer.

Bishop agreed to remain jailed without bond while the case is pending. He was supposed to appear for a preliminary exam next month but defense attorney Jill Leslie Price asked for more time to potentially resolve the case.

It’s been about three weeks since his friend Buschemeyer last saw Bishop.

He spent the night at her house, a 76-minute drive east of Detroit.

“He said he was stateside and had a good job — construction,” Buschemeyer said.

Then, he disappeared.

“This explains why I haven’t heard from him,” she said.

‘Jack isn’t a bad person’

Bishop had a rough upbringing, and like many neighborhood kids, found solace in Buschemeyer’s home, she said. Area kids call her “mom.”

“He was kind of macho and grew up rather rough and tumble but had a smile that could erase all that,” she said Friday. “Jack isn’t a bad person, but he always wanted to pick a fight. He’d say ‘mom, if anybody needs taking care of, let me know.’ ”

Bishop crosses the Windsor-Detroit border like he crossed in and out of Buschemeyer’s life.

“He’s like a will-o’-the-wisp,” she said. “You’re never quite sure where he is.”

Bishop’s criminal record, which Buschemeyer learned about Friday, helped explain some of the absences.

But the truth behind the absences hurt, especially in light of his recent visit to her house and tale of landing a good-paying job, she said.

“It was good believing that he had made something of his life,” she said. “instead of being in trouble.”

rsnell@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2028

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