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Maine man charged with trying to burn Mass. church several times

The Houlton man attempted to burn the church once on Dec. 13 and twice on Dec. 15, according to authorities
Credit: NBC10 Boston

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — A Maine man has been charged with trying to burn a Massachusetts church with a predominantly Black congregation.

Dushko Vulchev, of Houlton, Maine, was arrested Friday by Pittsfield police, authorities said Saturday.

The Houlton man is currently being held on $25,000 bail. He was arraigned Tuesday on several counts of malicious damage and three counts of attempted arson at the Martin Luther King Presbyterian Church in Springfield on Dec. 13 and Dec. 15.

Authorities also are investigating a Dec. 28 fire that heavily damaged the church located at 14 Concord Terrace in Springfield. He is not charged in connection with the Dec. 28 fire, which made the building unusable. That fire is still under investigation. 

He pleaded not guilty to six charges, including attempted arson. His lawyer called it a case of mistaken identity.

In 2008, a few hours after Barack Obama was elected president, a Black church in Springfield was destroyed in an intentionally set fire that authorities said was racially motivated. Three white men were arrested and convicted.

An investigation is ongoing.

The investigation team is made up of the Springfield Arson and Bomb Squad, Springfield Police detectives, State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal, agents from the FBI and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

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