Pride flag torn down and burnt in Rochester

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Rochester Police are investigating after officers say someone stole an LGBTQ Pride flag from a front porch and burned it.

The theft happened on Sunday morning around 3 a.m. off of Wellington Avenue on the west side of the city.

Neighbors said they are getting more frustrated. They hope something changes soon so they can feel comfortable and welcome where they live.

“It’s just more sad that I can’t — that a neighborhood I moved to for the diversity it has I’m having a problem showing my own diversity,” Michael Philipson said.

Philipson said if it wasn’t for his security camera, he wouldn’t have caught this the video of three kids, two dressed in costumes, on his property taking his pride flag.

“It’s kind of sad that this kid is being taught how to do this you know instead of being taught that there’s a lot of diversity in the world and you know everybody makes up that world,” Philipson said.

Philipson said this time, the flag was returned burnt and was placed on the steps of his front door.

“You know I’m not upset about the flag or the damage or anything,” Philipson said. “It’s just the idea that you know there — there’s still some people there’s still a lot of hate out there there’s still a lot of non-acceptance out there.”

Neighbor Jason Cloen has lived in the area the past two years and says since they’ve moved in they’ve had about six flags stolen, including two over the weekend.

“Most of them have been pride related but actually our first flag was stolen was one of those coexist flags, it has a bunch of religious symbols and some rainbow coloring in there but it’s not at all a pride flag,” Cloen said.

He said while it is a violation of property, it’s almost as if their very being is being attacked.

“You know just like I can’t choose my skin color, I can’t choose my sexuality, I can’t choose my feelings that I have for people necessarily the love that I feel for my husband,” Cloen said. “So it’s a lot deeper than just a property crime, the flags cost 6 bucks we buy them in bulk and put them back up when they’re stolen but it’s just the fact that part of who I am is being ripped down off of my home,” Cloen said.

News10NBC reached out to Rochester Police and they did confirm a report was taken and the investigation is ongoing.

Police say if you have any information on who these kids might be to call 911.