Metro Weekly

Gay couple has Pride flag stolen, but it’s not what you think

An Ohio street is filled with LGBTQ Pride flags after an amusing whodunit involving a gay couple's stolen flag

Ohio, gay, flag, lgbtq, stolen
Charlie Olivo (right) and husband Tommy — Photo: 19 News

A gay couple was left distraught last week after discovering that their LGBTQ Pride flag, which hangs outside their home in University Heights, Ohio, had been stolen.

“I came home from work and noticed that the Pride flag was missing,” Charlie Olivo told 19 News.

Olivo and husband Tommy suspected they had been the victims of an anti-LGBTQ incident similar to others across the country, where properties with Pride flags have been targeted and had their flags defaced or stolen.

The couple immediately mobilized their neighborhood to find the ne’er-do-well, posting on Facebook and asking if anyone had security footage of the theft.

While no suspect could be found, the couple received overwhelming support from their neighbors, including Joe Hochheiser, who offered to not only replace the couple’s flag, but also buy 10 more for neighbors to fly and show their support.

“We kind of live in this time where there’s a lot of negativity,” Hochheiser told 19 News. “I thought, how can we spread a little bit of joy, how can we spread a little bit of light?”

Related: Ohio family claims someone stole their Pride flag and burned it

However, the mystery of the stolen flag was solved just days later by the couple’s dog, Daisy, who they noticed “barking out the window…directly at the tree.”

Olivo opened the blinds, looked out the window “and saw this little red and orange stripe. I said ‘Oh my gosh, I think that’s our Pride flag.'”

Then, the flag thief finally made an appearance: “I looked and saw a big, fat raccoon walking up the limb, back and forth.”

Olivo and his husband realized that the racoon had pinched their flag in order to make (an LGBTQ-affirming) nest in their tree.

The couple were “shocked,” Olivo said, with his husband Tommy calling it “so funny, because it had taken off on the Facebook page so much, with the community.”

Hochheiser noted that, in addition to the 11 flags he purchased, their neighborhood now has 12 LGBTQ Pride flags on display, given “the raccoon has one as well.”

“It was very heartwarming but a good ending,” Olivo said.

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