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New Haven restaurant's pride flag stolen 3 times in 12 months

The owner of Blue Orchid said the community response has been positively overwhelming since their flag was stolen.

NEW HAVEN, Conn — The Blue Orchid Restaurant in New Haven is asking for the public's help in finding the group of people who intentionally stole their pride flag. 

Their flag has been stolen or ripped down three times in the past 12 months. 

"If the flag bothers you, just walk on the other side of the street," said Michael Flora, co-owner of the Blue Orchid.

Flora and his husband own the restaurant on Court Street serving Asian Cuisine. 

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They opened their doors during the pandemic when restaurants were closing their doors. Their pride flag outside has been a hint to their customers it is owned by a gay couple.

For the past several months, some have not taken a liking to the flag and even their pride stickers.

"It’s an Asian restaurant so there’s the gay side of it and then there’s the AAPI side of it. It’s a worry," added Flora. 

Approximately one week ago, the restaurant's surveillance cameras captured a group of people lingering outside the entrance around 2:45 a.m. 

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One of the girls stepped up on the light as a stepping stool, grabbed the flag and walked away. 

The restaurant shared surveillance photos of the people involved and two men appeared to even acknowledge the security camera. 

"The thing that amazed me the most I think is there were so many people involved, like watching them, and really nobody thought to say to the girl well A, it’s taking you so long to get it, let’s just forget about it or B, we shouldn’t be doing this," added Flora. 

The last two times, their flag was not stolen but damaged.

Since this happened, Flora has received an overwhelming amount of community support. 

One of their customers ordered the restaurant a new flag and 60 mini pride flags with 200 more to arrive. 

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"The flag we have out there, it’s $7 on Amazon. Go buy your flag. Don’t risk trying to take ours down," added Flora. 

The Pride Center of New Haven told FOX61 that while they are unsure if the act was out of hate or not, they said it still sends the wrong message. 

"In an environment where there’s this very big, loud, national voice of hate directed towards LGBTQ people, having something like that happen locally feels very personal," said Patrick Dunn, executive director of the Pride Center of New Haven. 

The suspects involved in last Saturday's incident have yet to be caught.

Anyone who recognizes them or has additional information is urged to contact New Haven Police.

Carmen Chau is an anchor and reporter at FOX61 News. She can be reached at cchau@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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