‘We won’t put up with this’: Pride flag thefts across Tacoma being investigated as hate crimes

Jun 15, 2023, 7:12 AM

(Photo from KIRO 7)...

(Photo from KIRO 7)

(Photo from KIRO 7)

The Tacoma Police Department says there is fear and concern in the community after a series of Pride flag thefts last weekend.

Officer Shelbie Boyd reports there was a total of nine incidents, largely concentrated in and around Tacoma’s Proctor neighborhood.

“It’s shocking that in 2023 we still have to face crimes like this,” said Boyd. “You feel bad as an officer, seeing someone violated like that.”

Tacoma Police said the department considers the incidents to be hate crimes that will be investigated under the state’s malicious harassment and theft laws.

“Fly the flag, be proud of who you are,” said Boyd. “If you have a neighbor who is flying a pride flag, look out for them.”

Cindy Roth says over the weekend, someone ripped apart her neighbor’s Pride flag. The neighborhood, outraged by the hateful act has since made a powerful gesture of their own. Roth’s lawn and others on her street are now decorated in rainbow.

“You’ve hurt people, but you’re not going to take anything away from us,” said Roth. “We’re standing strong and we won’t put up with this.”

Authorities encourage any outstanding victims to come forward and share their stories with either their Tacoma Police or representatives at Tacoma-based Rainbow Center. Officer Boyd wants those living in the Proctor neighborhood with surveillance systems to look at their camera footage from over the weekend even if your home was not specifically targeted.

“That can also help us kind of triangulate areas where this person came and went,” said Boyd.

Any victims who reported a theft but have yet to be contacted by a detective will hear from one soon.

If you had a Pride flag stolen but haven’t reported the theft, call 911 or the TPD non-emergency line at 253-287-4455 to let the police know. You can also submit a tip anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS(8477) or email the Rainbow Center at info@rainbowctr.org.

“The Tacoma Police Department stands with and has a deep commitment to our LGBTQIA+ community and all communities that are victims of hate. Hate has no place in the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Police Department will do their best to ensure these perpetrators are brought to justice,” TPD said in a Tuesday news release.

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‘We won’t put up with this’: Pride flag thefts across Tacoma being investigated as hate crimes