Police: Man trespassed, caused damage to buildings on church property in attempt to find missing cat

Paul O'Neill

YORK COUNTY, Pa. — A man is accused of trespassing and causing damage to buildings on the property of Slavic Baptist Church in Newberry Township over the weekend.

Paul O’Neill, a township resident who lives near the property, went over to the church Friday night to look for his missing cat in which he allegedly kicked a hole in a plywood locked door located just outside of the annex building, the criminal complaint says.

Police were called to the church around 10:15 p.m. for a report of a suspicious person. An officer spoke with the caller who advised that O’Neill confronted her that night and kicked the hole in one of the annex building doors. Police then went over to the neighbors house where an officer spoke with O’Neill, who reportedly admitted to entering the church and confronting the occupants.

Police were called back to the church Saturday because more damaged was discovered. Surveillance video reportedly showed O’Neill entering the Chapel through an open window and damaging several locked doors in further attempts to find his cat, according to the criminal complaint. He then left through an emergency exit door and went home across the street.

O’Neill then started a fire next to his attached, screened-in porch on his property to draw police attention as an officer was speaking with members of the church. Police note that the fire caused the porch framing and spouting to receive damage.

He has been charged with burglary, criminal trespass, institutional vandalism – place of worship, disorderly conduct, and loitering and prowling at night, court documents show.

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