A homeless man whose street name is “Captain America” has been arrested after stealing an LGBTQ Pride flag from the front of a restaurant in Fort Myers, Florida, and taking a swing at the restaurant’s owner with the metal pole holding the flag when he tried to stop him.
According to a police report, 38-year-old Jason Jocque went to The Standard Restaurant in downtown Fort Myers, jumped on top of a dining table, and unscrewed the metal pole fastening a Pride flag to the restaurant’s exterior. The theft of the flag was caught on tape by local surveillance cameras.
Chris Blauvelt, the owner of The Standard Restaurant, said it’s the second time he’s caught Jocque attempting to steal the Pride flag. He told Fort Myers affiliate NBC-2 that he has had to replace the flag two other times after it’s been ripped down, and believes the same person has been the culprit in each instance.
Blauvelt said he attempted to stop Jocque, but Jocque swung the metal pole holding the flag at him and ran away. Blauvelt trailed him to the downtown marina until police arrived to arrest Jocque.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told NBC-2 that any taxpayer in the county has the right to request his agency respond to a crime being committed, which is what Blauvelt did. Marceno also speculated that Jocque could “possibly be displaying some mental illness” and claimed that he is potentially putting the public’s safety at risk.
Jocque has previously been arrested on charges involving alcohol, drugs, and alleged human trafficking, according to the sheriff’s office.
Local residents say that Jocque has been known to live among the homeless in the city’s Centennial Park, and recognized him due to his unique outfit, where he is usually draped in an American flag, thus earning him the nickname “Captain America.”
Jocque is currently being held in Lee County Jail and faces charges of aggravated assault, property damage, and criminal mischief.
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