KINGSTON, MASS. (WHDH) - A 43-year-old Plymouth man is accused of illegally entering and vandalizing a Kingston church early Thursday morning, police said.

Jonathan White was arrested later after he allegedly entered the First Parish Unitarian Church overnight and “did significant damage to the building,” according to the Kingston Police Department. Investigators discovered that handmade 200-year-old shutters were destroyed, antique glass was smashed, and a fire extinguisher had been sprayed throughout the building.

Police said White also allegedly set fire to Pride and Black Lives Matter flags outside the building, charring pieces of the church building in the process.

“Overall damage estimates have not been tallied at this point but initial estimates are in the tens of thousands,” police said in a statement.

An investigation determined White to be the suspect, police said. White returned to the church later in the afternoon and “appeared to be watching officers process the scene,” according to police.

A Kingston police detective noticed White and tried to stop him, but White yelled at the detective before driving away in his car, police said. He struck a sign while fleeing, according to police.

An officer found White down the road and arrested him, police said. He is slated to be arraigned at Plymouth District Court on several felony charges.

“It’s actually sad, right? It’s such a historical institution,” said Efrain Ruiz, who lives behind the church.

A neighbor who asked not to be on camera said the situation was upsetting.

“I just couldn’t believe it,” she said. “The church has been here for so long. It’s such a quiet neighborhood. It’s such a great neighborhood and I just couldn’t believe that this happened.”

On Friday, a sign of unity was seen on the front lawn of the church — “Hate Has No Home Here.”

Kingston police ask anyone living on the 200 block of Main Street or nearby side streets to review any home surveillance footage midnight to 6:30 a.m. Thursday. Residents are asked to look for a white 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe with a spot light outside the driver’s door.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Lieutenant Michael Skowyra at mskowyra@kpdmass.org or 781-585-0523 ext. 6662.

(Copyright (c) 2024 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox