Metro Weekly

2 Soldiers Charged with Stealing Lesbian Couple’s Pride Flags

The victims of the crime say their Pride flags were ripped down or stolen five times over the past several months.

A still frame captured from video footage of the theft of the Pride flags – Photo: Ring Doorbell Video; (right) Matthew Henshaw booking photo – Photo: Arlington Police Department.

Two soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army’s elite Old Guard, based out of Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall, have been arrested and charged with repeatedly stealing Pride flags from a lesbian couple’s Arlington home. 

Jenna Burnett and Michelle Logan, the couple targeted by the vandalism, said that they had hung up a Pride flag outside their house, located in the Penrose neighborhood, just a few blocks away from the entrance to Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall.

But on the evening of September 16, someone tore the flag down.

The act was captured on video by a Ring doorbell camera.

Footage from the camera showed a male, wearing a cowboy hat, and accompanied two companions, tearing the flag from where it was mounted, just above the couple’s front porch. 

The couple reported the theft to Arlington County Police and put up a new flag. They also posted the video footage from their Ring camera online.

The video footage inspired acts of generosity, with several people expressing both outrage and sympathy for the couple, and some even sending them replacement Pride flags.

But on the night of September 30, the flag was stolen once again.

“We were like kind of angry,” Logan and Burnett told D.C. area CBS affiliate WUSA. “Our friend made us another flag with our Pride flag that said ‘Have you seen this anti-LGBTQ+ cowboy’ and we thought it was hilarious, so we put it up.”

On December 16, the “cowboy” struck again, this time wrenching the pole carrying the flag so violently that it bent in half. 

“The entire pole was just like snapped off,” said Logan.

The couple reported the incident to Arlington County Police.

Burnett says they then pledged to donate $100 to an LGBTQ organization every time the flag was stolen. In total, over the past five months, the flag was stolen five times.

Each time, Logan and Burnett say they reported the incident to the police, and the thefts of the flags were caught on Ring camera video.

The couple also began raising money from neighbors and friends on social media and making donations to The Trevor Project, the nation’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization. They have donated more than $950 so far.

Earlier this month, police arrested 20-year-old Matthew Henshaw, of Fort Myer, Virginia, who is a soldier assigned to the Old Guard, alleging he was the man in the cowboy hat caught on camera. They charged him with three counts of bias-motivated unlawful entry and three counts of petit larceny for the two September incidents and a third incident on January 27.

Police also charged 23-year-old Joseph Digregorio, of Bay Shore, New York, with one count of petit larceny for an incident on January 21. It remains unclear whether the two men knew each other.

Thus far, no one has been charged for the December 16 Pride flag theft. 

In a statement, Joint Base Fort Myer-Henderson Hall told NBC Washington that the two soldiers remain on active duty since the case is still under active investigation.

“We recognize the value of diversity and equality, and the actions of those involved do not represent the values and character of The Old Guard or our Army,” the base said in a statement.

Following the news of the arrests, several of Logan and Burnett’s neighbors began flying their own Pride flags outside their properties as a sign of solidarity.

Logan and Burnett are grateful for both the verbal and tangible support they’ve received.

“It feels very validating to know that the neighborhood, our family and friends, and even strangers are on our side,” Logan told the Washington Post. “Clearly, there are different opinions that are holding people like us back, but we will press forward.”

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