DUNEDIN, Fla. (WFLA) – Melody Urso says her pride flag was promoting love and peace, but what happened to her flag feels like an act of hate.
“I was really, really angry someone would walk up onto my property, break and steal something of mine,” said Urso, whose pride flag was stolen from the front yard of her Pinellas County home over the weekend.
The suspects are still on the run but the whole thing was is caught on camera on Saturday morning when Urso’s pride flag with the word peace written in Italian, vanished.
“I was hoping to honor Pride month with the flag. It was very special because I got it from Italy a very long time ago. It said ‘pace’ on it which in Italian means ‘peace’,” Urso said.
Urso’s neighbor shared a video with 8 On Your Side showing the entire incident that lasted about two minutes.
In the video, you can see at 11:30 a.m. Saturday morning three boys ride their bikes by Urso’s home, then one circled back, got off his bike, jumped multiple times to snap the flag off its pole, and then rode away with Urso’s precious parcel in hand.
“I felt very violated, and I was very angry that someone would do that… it definitely was targeted for what it represents because there are other flags they could have stolen,” Urso said.
Urso said her whole purpose of flying the pride flag was to uplift the LGBTQ community.
“Because these are divisive times, I would like to support the communities of people who are threatened and feel oppressed,” Urso said.
Eight On Your Side spoke with the Pinellas County Sheriff Office’s Corporal Travis Sibly who said the boys could face a misdemeanor and serious trouble.
“The misdemeanor offense could wind up in a notice to appear. They could be eligible for juvenile diversion or they could not be eligible for juvenile diversion and end up in jail,” Corporal Sibly said.
Urso hopes justice prevails.
“I would like to see them recognize they did something wrong in our community and maybe do community service or something good for our community,” Urso said.
If you have any clues to help identify the boys who stole Urso’s pride flag, call the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.