By Susan Payne
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office (SBDS) is looking to file charges against two individuals involved in an alleged theft and destruction of Pride flags in the Santa Ynez Valley community of Los Olivos.
On July 28, deputies responded to the 2900 block of Nojoqui Avenue in Los Olivos to investigate a report of a stolen pride flag, the department stated. Deputies spent several days investigating the report, collecting physical evidence, interviewing victims and witnesses and tracking down a video of a burning Pride flag shared on social media.
Deputies identified two individuals as suspects in the theft who admitted to another flag theft in the Ballard area.
SBSD stated that deputies have been in consistent communication with the parties involved, as well as community leaders who have voiced concern over these incidents.
“The Sheriff’s Office takes these offenses seriously and the case has been submitted to the District Attorney’s Office requesting charges for 488PC – Petty Theft and 422.6(b) PC – Hate Crimes,” the statement read.
California penal code 422.6(b), reads: “No person … shall knowingly deface, damage, or destroy the real or personal property of any other person for the purpose of intimidating or interfering with the free exercise or enjoyment of any right or privilege secured to the other person by the Constitution.”
It is unclear whether the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office will file the charges.
Community leaders gathered Wednesday to raise a new Pride flag and address the theft and burning of the previous flag.