Residents of Boise, Idaho are proving that love outweighs hate after Pride flags were stolen and damaged along Harrison Boulevard early Friday morning, reports CBS2.
Boise Police responded to reports of a theft in progress early Friday morning.
“Officers were immediately able to locate the suspect,” Boise PD said. “The reporting party who witnessed the crime wished to proceed with a citizen’s arrest.”
The suspect was identified by police as 18-year-old Gage Burlile. He was taken to the Ada County Jail and charged with misdemeanor petit theft.
25 of the 29 pride flags on Harrison Boulevard were stolen or destroyed, according to a Facebook post. The value of the flags and dowels was estimated to be about $400.
The Boise Pride Festival has been putting up flags and banners around Boise during Pride month for the last five years. Leaders with the group said it’s “sad and disappointing” to see.
“The flags have been up for two weeks to celebrate Pride Month this month,” said Joseph Kibbe, a member of Pride Fest’s board of directors. “Some North End residents contacted us to help deploy the flags. It a very celebrated event on Harrison Boulevard. I’m really sad they have been destroyed.”
Kibbe says he wishes those who have a problem with the Rainbow flags would have talked first to members of the LGBTQ community rather than destroy a symbol that means so much to the LGBTQ+ community.
“I’m so saddened to hear that the Pride flags lining Harrison Blvd. were stolen last night,” Mayor Lauren McLean said. “Boise is a welcoming & loving place for all—and my heart goes out to those who have ever been made to feel otherwise.”
A Pride Flag rally was organized by the North End neighborhood for Friday night. Organizers encouraged participants to show up with ‘love’ and help install new flags.
“We won’t stand for such bigotry – not here, not anywhere,” read a statement on the event’s Facebook page. “LOVE always wins!”
Dozens of people came by to donate flags, march down Harrison Boulevard, climb ladders to reinstall flags and replace what was stolen, reports KTVB7.
The Liberating Spirit Metropolitan Community Church donated flags and the North End Neighborhood Association donated metal dowels to hold them in place.
“It makes me smile, I really don’t know what to say,” Kibbe said.