A gay couple in Northern California say someone took gingerbread man decorations from their Christmas yard display and smeared feces over them before laying them at the foot of a Pride flag hanging in their yard.
“They literally ripped them out of the ground, and wiped their asses with them, and carefully laid them at the base of our Pride Flag,” Brian Kleinmeyer of Eureka, Calif., wrote in a Facebook post. “I thought things might get stolen, but never in a million years did I think this would happen. I’m completely in shock.”
Kleinmeyer, who lives with his long-term boyfriend Daniel Kain, told the Lost Coast Outpost that this is the second time in the past two weeks that the couple’s Christmas decorations have been vandalized.
“The first time they broke a Santa sleigh in half and tangled up a bunch of my Christmas lights,” he said. Regarding the latest bout of vandalism, he added: “Something about two Gingerbread Men holding hands just pushed them over the edge, I guess.”
Kleinmeyer told the Outpost he felt compelled to speak up about the incident, saying: “I just want to make sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else or, if it already has, that they feel empowered enough to speak up about it.”
The Eureka Police Department has confirmed it is investigating the incident as a hate crime, and is asking anyone with information about the incident or the perpetrators to share it with the police department.
“It’s very clear in my mind this was a deliberate act based on the suspect’s perception of [the victims’] sexual orientation,” said Eureka Police Chief Steve Watson. If a suspect is ever arrested, charged, and convicted of a crime under California’s hate crime statute, they could face up to a year in jail, a fine of $5,000, or both.
Watson told the Outpost that he personally contacted Kleinmeyer and Kain to “reassure them that the city manager and I, the council — that EPD and the city has their back.”
“This kind of hate is not going to be tolerated,” Watson added. “We’ll throw every resource we have into identifying, pursuing and arresting whoever’s responsible, as well as working with the District Attorney to make sure they’re prosecuted to fullest extent of the law.”
Kleinmeyer later told the Outpost in an email that Watson had reached out personally to Kain and presented him with two gingerbread man cookies as a gift.
“I’m not going to lie, I didn’t cry over our decorations being vandalized, but I did from the kindness we have been shown since it happened,” Kleinmeyer said. “I’m completely blown away.”
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