Isle La Motte, VT — State and local police are investigating nine incidents of theft and vandalism of LGBTQ Pride flags in Isle La Motte.

Resident Mary Catherine Graziano said she’s had to replace her flag four times. In the most recent case, on Saturday, a flag was burned.

“We should be able to put whatever we want on our private property without anyone interfering with it,” Graziano said. ” This town is so welcoming and caring, and so connected so to have one or two people doing this to scare folks and make them feel about who they are — that’s not who we are. It tells people in our community that they’re not welcomed and not safe.”

The Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department and the Vermont State Police said over the weekend that they are investigating the nine acts of vandalism as possible hate crimes. They say one of the victims captured the theft of a Pride flag on a game camera. They are asking anyone with information to call Vermont State Police.

Graziano’s neighbors put up flags in solidarity but all of those flags were stolen. Graziano says people and hate will never deter her from hanging flags.

“We’re not scared and afraid. They’re a minority in the community. We’ll just put more flags up. We’re gonna keep putting up flags until the person gets caught or gets tired of violating first amendment rights.” 

In a statement, the Pride Center of Vermont said incidents of Pride flag destruction are on the rise.

“At Pride Center of Vermont, we are increasingly concerned about the safety of our LGBTQ+ community members and the brazen acts of hate that are becoming more and more visible,” the center said. “This violence is unacceptable, yet it persists in this current cultural climate where human rights are being debated on a national stage.”