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Hamilton seeking suspect in burning of large flag hanging at church

A flag hanging on the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton at Front and High streets was damaged by arson early Monday morning. SUBMITTED
A flag hanging on the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton at Front and High streets was damaged by arson early Monday morning. SUBMITTED

A large, eye-catching American flag hanging on a High Street church in downtown Hamilton was damaged this week by fire, and police say they are close to an arrest.

At about 5 a.m. Monday morning, police received a call about the flag on the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton at the corner of Front and High streets being damaged.

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The flag was burned at the edges and had been set on fire, according to police. It was removed from the High Street side of the building

Matthew Rhymer HAMILTON POLICE
Matthew Rhymer HAMILTON POLICE

Church officials said the flag will be replaced in a few weeks.

“We have identified a suspect and we are in the process of trying to find him,” Police Chief Craig Bucheit told the Journal-News Thursday.

A warrant for the arrest of Matthew Rhymer, 22, on the charge of misdemeanor arson has been issued by Hamilton police, according to Bucheit. Anyone with information about Rhymer’s whereabouts is asked to call police at 513-868-5811.

The chief said detectives are also continuing to investigate the break-in early Sunday at The Almond Sister bakery at 224 High St. Sometime before 6 a.m. someone used a brick to shatter the plate glass window, take the cash register and leave a trail of coins in the alley, according to owner Jenni Hubbard.

Hamilton police took the cash register to determine if there were any usable fingerprints.

Friends, customers and other business owners came out to see how they could help, bringing their support and opening up their wallets.

Brad Baker, a friend of Hubbard’s, set up a GoFundMe account. In addition, Baker is hosted a fundraiser at his new Pinball Garage business, 113 N. Third St., to help the bakery.