A coffee shop in Bethel, Conn., a picturesque town 70 miles north of New York City, was vandalized over the weekend when its Pride flag was torn down, burned, and dropped at the front door of the business.
The owner of Molton Java, Wendy Cahill, found the flag on Sunday morning and alerted police as well as her Facebook followers.
“I love this town. I hesitated thinking that this incident would make anyone question the overwhelming support, kindness and sense of community we have. It’s a town full of amazing individuals and I feel very lucky to live and work here,” Cahill said in the post.
Cahill's business has been in operation for decades, and she is a prominent member of the community, serving as one of two registrars of voters in the town of over 18,000.
“If I had a chance to talk to [the vandals], I would ask what was the motivation and feeling behind it. Obviously hatred and homophobia but I don’t know why they would take the time to express it that way,” Cahill told the News-Times. “It’s hard to say.”
Police are reviewing video footage at the store and aren't yet ready to label the incident a hate crime. A Bethel resident's Pride flag was stolen from outside their home last year and a Pride flag at a church in nearby Danbury was burned twice in 2016.
“Being gay, in a small town is not easy and I know that personally. The pride flag is a meaningful symbol that defines a community of love and acceptance,” State Rep. Raghib Allie-Brennan told the News-Times.