‘Hate breeds hate.’ Pride flags damaged, stolen from homes in Frenchtown
Police in Hunterdon County are searching for the people responsible for stealing or damaging nearly a dozen Pride flags that were flying outside of homes in Frenchtown.
The incidents happened over a two-day span of Sunday into Monday and then Monday into Tuesday. It was not clear who is responsible, but members of the community say that they hope the culprits are caught.
“It’s a violation of our house, our space, our community,” says resident Grace Stearns Fiorito.
Stearns Fiorito has lived in Frenchtown for 15 years. She says this is the first time something like this has happened. Her house was one of several whose Pride flags were vandalized.
“All of a sudden, I looked up and went upstairs and woke up my husband and said, ‘Our Pride flag is gone and our trans flag has been cut to pieces,’” Stearns Fiorito says.
A flag posted outside a home on Harrison Street was cut up, prompting the homeowners to post a sign that read, “This is a hate crime.” They say that the sign was also thrown into the Delaware River, along with a Black Lives Matter sign and more Pride flags.
“Hate breeds hate, hate breeds hate,” says resident Al Leigh. “I feel that people feel emboldened to act out and lash out and I can’t say with certainty that it wouldn’t happen again.”
Frenchtown Mayor Brad Myhre says that police are asking residents who have surveillance cameras to bring the videos to the Frenchtown Police Department for review.
Hunterdon County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $2,500 for information leading to an arrest.
Anyone with information should contact the Hunterdon County Prosecutor's Office at 908-788-1129 or the Frenchtown Police Department at 908-996-4820.