LITTLE VALLEY — The Olean man who vandalized St. John’s Roman Catholic Church on Valentine’s Day has been sentenced to three years probation.
Thomas P. Kissinger, 22, of Olean, received the sentence Monday in Cattaraugus County Court after pleading guilty in April to fifth-degree arson, a misdemeanor, and fourth-degree criminal mischief, a class A misdemeanor.
He was initially charged with third-degree burglary and second-degree criminal mischief, both class D felonies; and fourth-degree arson, a class E felony.
In the early morning hours of Feb. 14, Kissinger broke into the North Union Street church by breaking the glass to the main entrance and, once inside, reportedly caused several thousand dollars in damage. Investigators with the Olean Police Department’s Criminal Investigation Unit said Kissinger damaged ritual candles and set fire to a holy book.
Kissinger was charged March 2. After the arrest, Olean Police Capt. Robert Blovsky said Kissinger blamed the incident on being intoxicated and that investigators don’t believe he was a St. John’s parishioner nor that he had any connection to the church other than living nearby.