CRIME

‘It’s just alarming’: Draper couple’s pride flag stolen five times

Nov 13, 2023, 6:15 PM | Updated: Nov 14, 2023, 6:29 am

DRAPER — A Draper couple said their pride flag has been stolen from their backyard five times.

Bryce Abplanalp and Jeff Romney Wright have lived in their Draper home for about two years. It borders a neighborhood park.

“In the last 18 months, we’ve had our pride flag stolen five different times, varying degrees of escalation it feels like,” Abplanalp said.

They said they fly a pride flag for everyone driving by or playing in the park who will see it.

“We’ve had 20 plus people come to our door, mostly moms, that say, ‘I have a gay son, I have a trans son, daughter. Thanks for flying the flag,'” Abplanalp said.

He grew up in Utah and said he doesn’t remember having any representation in his community.

“We’re not trying to make anybody gay. We’re not trying to groom kids… we’re just trying to fly a flag so that maybe there’s a kid there that’s struggling and sees it and thinks, ‘Somebody out there sees who I am and loves me for who I am,'” Abplanalp said.

The couple shares their lives with their two children, Rue and Ridge, on Instagram for similar reasons. They said they both grew up religious and struggled with suicidal thoughts because of their sexuality.

“You’re going to be okay. You can have a family, you can be gay and simply be happy,” Wright said. “Don’t let a religion determine your future.”

The dads said their flag was most recently stolen Saturday night.

“Our pole was completely destroyed, and lights were broken, and cameras were stolen,” Abplanalp said.

They said their house security cameras don’t capture the spot in their backyard where the flag pole stands because of spotty internet and lack of light. They said a hidden trail camera was also stolen.

“At first, it was frustrating and annoying, and then it kind of becomes violating,” Abplanalp said. “It’s in our yard when we’re asleep. Our kids are asleep.”

A security sign warning trespassers that a camera is in use. (KSL TV)

The couple said they understand why police can only do so much. Abplanalp said officers took pictures and wrote up a report after the most recent incident.

“I get it’s a low-level crime, things happen, nobody got hurt, but it’s just frustrating that it feels like maybe there’s nothing you can do,” he said.

They’re not sure if they’ll replace the flag after the repeated incidents.

“At a certain point, the money that we continue to spend on it is one thing, but it also seems like we’re inviting people that really hate what the pride flag stands for and maybe our family, and we’re giving them a reason to jump our fence,” Abplanalp said.

An American flag waving nearby the couple’s Draper home. (KSL TV)

The family says their followers are supportive. They’re focusing on the future of their children’s lives.

“When I was taking Ridge up to bed two nights ago after the flag got stolen, he said, ‘Dad, are we going to make sure the flag is safe? And make sure we’re safe, too?’ And that’s hard to hear coming from a four-year-old,” Wright said.

The couple said their followers have been supportive.

“People have suggested we electrify the pole, but I have kids out here. I have dogs,” Abplanalp said. “I don’t want anybody to get hurt over a flag.”

They want to continue to fly it as a symbol of love and hope.

“There’s so many good people out there that love and support us, and that want the best for, not only for us but for our community, and some of them are LDS, some are not, and they still love us for who we are,” Wright said.

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‘It’s just alarming’: Draper couple’s pride flag stolen five times