Metro Weekly

200 Pride Flags Stolen From Massachusetts Town

Town members came together to replace the flags ahead of a planned Pride festival, which ended up drawing greater crowds this year.

Pride flags – Photo: olegdoroshin, via 123rf

More than 200 rainbow-colored Pride flags were stolen from a rotary in the center of Carlisle, Massachusetts, last week.

The Carlisle Police Department was notified on May 27 that the flags, which had been placed in the rotary at the intersection of Lowell Street, Bedford Road and Westford Road, were missing. The flags were lawfully permitted to be placed in public. They appear to have been stolen overnight.

Police Chief Andrew Amendola said the department is taking the theft “very seriously” and is encouraging anyone with information to contact police by calling 978-369-1155.

“It is unfortunate, as Carlisle is an inclusive community, and we want everyone to feel safe and welcomed here,” Amendola said in a statement.

A few days after the theft, Travis Snell, chairman of the Carlisle Select Board issued a statement.

“Such action and behavior have no place in Carlisle and our police department is working to identify whoever is responsible and they will be held accountable,” Snell wrote in a Facebook post.

“On behalf of the Town of Carlisle, the Select Board would like to reiterate that Carlisle is an inclusive community that respects the freedoms and the rights of individuals. Stealing property and undermining freedom of expression is a cowardly act and has no place in our town.”

“It’s hard to imagine anyone from Carlisle, because we’ve always been a very welcoming community,” Carlisle Select Board Member Barney Arnold told NBC Boston. “People are very supportive of one another.”

The flags were stolen just days before a planned Pride festival in the town of about 5,000 residents.

Within hours of the theft, people from the town came together to replace the flags. The Pride festival took place on Friday, May 31, without any major disruptions.

Organizers say turnout was larger than expected — which may be due to people wanting to show support for the LGBTQ community in the wake of the crime.

“The community response has been overwhelming,” Rachel Gore Free, a co-organizer of Carlisle’s Pride festival, told NBC Boston. “People have come out in solidarity.”

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