Utahns reporting multiple Pride flags stolen, with one burned
Jul 1, 2023, 11:40 AM | Updated: 4:37 pm
LINDON, UTAH – Vandals dismantled part of 9-foot-dinosaur decoration that has dotted a Lindon neighborhood for the past five years.
Homeowner, Sara Dye, said it wasn’t the dinosaur the suspects were going after.
“My pride flag was gone. The dinosaur was holding a pride flag, and that symbol of acceptance and the dinosaur’s arms were missing. The rest of the broken dino had been dragged into the middle of the street,” Dye said. “I was thinking to myself – it finally happened.”
Dye decorated the skeleton dinosaur for all occasions. Denver, as neighbors fondly call the structure, has weathered the deep snow during Christmas, dressed as Cupid for Valentine’s Day, and even acted as a beacon of hope for a little boy named Rex who was fighting cancer, a few houses down. And in June, Dye gave Denver a rainbow vibe.
“I am very excited about pride,” Dye said. “It was a large part of my life that I couldn’t talk about when I was younger, and now living in a very Mormon neighborhood – we do try to be very respectful.”
After investigating, officers with the Lindon City Police Department found pieces of Denver and the pride flag near the Murdock Canal Trail.
“It’s still an open investigation. We have officers canvassing the area, near the canal, searching for evidence,” Lindon City Police Chief Mike Brower said.
Dye, who identifies as queer has dealt with heavy circumstances this past month. Dye’s sister disowned them.
“In my sister’s eyes being queer is the equivalent of being a drug addict or a murderer. She is someone I have recently lost because she can’t take me being me,” Dye said. “But my husband really lightened the mood when he told me that this is an opportunity to make a bigger and gayer dinosaur.”
On Wednesday, June 28, the day after Dye’s flag was stolen, the Reynolds Family received a rude awakening. The Reynolds live about 10 minutes north of Dye’s home in Pleasant Grove.
“My wife and I were sleeping when we heard a giant snap,” Marc Reynolds said. “Our doorbell camera captured a group approaching our pride flag with their T-shirts covering their faces and scrawny, I assume, teenage bodies. They had a blow torch, and they burned holes in our flag.”
Marc’s wife, Jensen, went out to gather the flag that was still burning. The surveillance video shows the attackers returning and throwing a firecracker at her from a moving grey SUV. The firecracker burst about eight feet from her, on the sidewalk.
“Luckily she was not hurt.” Reynolds said. “We participate in the pride parades as allies. We want to make sure we’re teaching our kids by our example. We want them to grow up in a better world than we’re currently living.”
The flag was charred and had multiple holes. Pleasant Grove Police responded to a number of other vandalism calls, two others involving pride flags, just that night.
“Police arrived and said that it was their fourth call in 30 minutes. So, this seemed a little more organized than just a random incident,” Reynolds said. “My three-year-old saw the burnt flag and asked why someone would do this. It’s so sad and shocking.”
The Reynolds took their frustration and hurt and turned it into helpfulness. They started a fundraiser on Instagram for the Utah Pride Center with the hope of raising $500. At last check, there was more than $1,200.
“I know a lot of people have been hurt. It’s cool to see the community try to drown out the hate with their love,” Reynolds said. “We felt scared and hurt to have someone light our flag on fire, but this is just a glimpse of what the LGBTQIA+ community has to deal with.”
This isn’t the first encounter for the Reynolds because they have displayed a pride flag.
“We were camping in the backyard with our children earlier this month, when a group started yelling expletives and anti-gay slurs over the fence.”
Since the vandalism, the Reynolds now have hand-drawn and colored pride flags taped on their windows.
“We have our makeshift flags up. The neighbor kids sent those over the day after they heard what happened,” Reynolds said.
“I know it’s just a flag – but it means a lot to a lot of people. It shows understanding and empathy,” Dye added.