By Madisen Keavy

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — In the Mansion Flats neighborhood of midtown Sacramento, a couple hung a Pride Flag from their first floor patio as a sign of their own pride, but also, as a way to celebrate Pride Month. Within the first 24 hours of it being up, it was ripped down and stolen.

The theft has the flag’s owner on edge and worried about her safety at-home. Olivia Deleonardis and her partner both identify as LGBTQIA+ and saw the flag as an opportunity to show their midtown neighborhood they were proud of who they are.

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The Pride Flag joined others in the area that hang from inside homes but are visible on the outside, or from flag poles at the front of a home. When it went up, Deleonardis didn’t think it would disappear, let alone be stolen.

“This is part of my identity, this is part of who I am, and just because someone doesn’t agree with it doesn’t mean I have to stop showing who I am,” said Deleonardis.

She feared the theft was targeted because June is Pride Month, celebrated each year during the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York City.

“When you walk down the street and you see other flags that are still up, you start to think, is this targeted?” said Deleonardis.

Deleonardis reported the incident to the Sacramento Police Department, which considers incidents like this bias-motivated and specifically, anti-sexual orientation incidents. Bias-motivated or hate crimes are defined by the Sacramento Police Department as any crime that is committed to “injure, degrade, or deprive a person of his/her dignity, well-being, or possessions because of prejudice against his/her race, nationality, age, sexual orientation, sex, religion, or disability.”

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There is a new Pride Flag hung outside of the midtown apartment where Deleonardis and her partner live. She said she bought it from a locally-owned Sacramento store, Strapping. When she told the employees what happened to her flag, she said they gave her a discount on a new one. It now is secured with added nails outside of her Midtown home.

Deleonardis said she also ordered a security camera to ensure if there are other thefts she will be able to document who is responsible.

Getting Answers: Is There A Spike In Anti-Sexual Orientation Incidents In Sacramento?

Sacramento police track bias-motivated crimes by their nature, including anti-sexual orientation. According to the department, bias-related incident statistics, from January to September 2021, there were 27 anti-sexual orientation incidents. In June 2021, there were six incidents, which was the most recorded in any month that year.

In 2020, Sacramento police had 12 anti-sexual orientation incidents reported and in 2019, there were 14 anti-sexual orientation incidents reported. In 2019 and 2020, there were no anti-sexual orientation incidents reported in June during Pride Month.

Statistics for 2022 are not yet available. A spokesperson with Sacramento police told CBS13 the department is not aware of any trends regarding stolen Pride flags. Incidents of that nature, when reported, are investigated as bias-related.

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Deleonardis told CBS13 she filed a report so that, in the event there is another incident, she has documentation.