SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — The man who was arrested on attempted arson charges to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Presbyterian Church in Springfield was arraigned in court on Tuesday.
Dushko Vulchev appeared in Springfield District Court via Zoom call. His attorney put in a not guilty plea. His bail was set at $25,000 and his next court hearing will be on February 5.
“Based on the description of the car, the plates, which there are other incidents where they were able to identify the plates on the vehicle as well as certain markings on the vehicle to determine that Mr. Vulchev is responsible for at least these incidents,” said James Forsyth, Assistant Hampden District Attorney during the Tuesday hearing.
Vulchev’s crime spree allegedly started on December 13 with a first attempt to burn the church. Then on December 14, an alleged malicious damage to two luxury cars in Springfield. The next day two alleged arson attempts at the church. Almost two weeks later, another alleged attack on a car in Springfield.
He was arraigned on the following charges:
- 4 counts of vehicle damage
- 3 counts of attempted arson (Dec. 13 & 15)
“He’s been living out of his car. He’s the individual, they recovered the same clothes in a search of Mr. Vulchev when he was arrested,” said Forsyth during the hearing.
While none of the charges come from the church fire on December 28th, a car registered to Vulchev was allegedly seen in the area but his attorney says he wasn’t responsible.
“The only thing that actually links him to that is the assertion that his car is in the area and these pictures that some police officers have decided look like him,” said Vulchev’s lawyer.
Vulchev’s only connection to Massachusetts is a former girlfriend in the Pittsfield area whose parents have a restraining order on him.
Vulchev was originally scheduled to appear in court on Monday but the arraignment was rescheduled for Tuesday.
The Pittsfield Police department arrested Dushko Vulchev of Houlton, Maine on Friday. According to Department of Fire Services spokeswoman Jennifer Mieth, Vulchev is charged with several counts of malicious damage and three counts of attempted arson previous to the Monday, December 28th church fire.
Vulchev has not been charged with arson attempt of the fire on Monday, December 28, yet as the cause of the fire is still under investigation. No one was hurt in those attempts and no injuries were reported in the early morning fire.
The MLK church, located at 14 Concord Terrace in Springfield, had just gotten a new roof a couple of weeks before the fire. The building is now badly damaged. Springfield firefighters were called to the MLK church located at 14 Concord Terrace at about 5 a.m. Monday December 28 for the fire, which caused heavy damage to the structure.