A 21-year-old New York man has been charged with a hate crime for stealing rainbow flags from a Sayville church on July 29, Sept. 23, Oct. 7, Oct. 15, Oct. 20 and one other date.
ABC News reports: “The suspected thief, Ronald Tyler Witt, was arrested around 8:05 p.m. Tuesday at his home in Sayville, New York, less than four blocks from the Sayville Congregational United Church of Christ, according to the Suffolk County Police Department. Witt was arrested on suspicion of six counts of petit larceny as a hate crime and is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday at the First District Court in Central Islip, on New York’s Long Island, police said.”
WABC adds: ‘A defense attorney said in court that it was a prank and nothing more, but prosecutors say Witt made an oral admission to police that he “didn’t want to see a gay flag on a church.” He also left an American flag and a POW flag that are also at the scene. “The sign was meant to say, you know, look, do you know what you’re doing here? Do you realize this is hateful, it’s harmful, it’s hurtful?” Banguolo said. “I think there’s something there. I think it’s a statement.”‘
Bail was set at $12,000.