Rainbow flag burned in Tree Streets neighborhood, JCPD investigating

JOHNSON CITY, TN (WJHL)- Johnson City Police officials are asking for your help finding the person who reportedly burned a banner flown in support of the LGBT community.

A police report about the incident was filed over the weekend in the Tree Streets neighborhood.

JCPD investigator Josh Morgan said the reported burning of the flag was just the most recent incident in a string of thefts of rainbow flags in that same area.

“In the last few weeks we’ve had four reports regarding thefts and vandalism’s in reference to some rainbow flags in the Tree Streets area,” Morgan said.

As we drove through the Tree Streets neighborhood Monday morning, pretty much everyone we ran into had already heard about the reported theft cases.

Betty Moore was raking leaves outside her home when we met her, standing feet away from her own rainbow flag that was hanging near her front door.

“I don’t want them to take my flag, if they do I’ll get another flag…it has to be outsiders coming into our neighborhood who just want to maybe stir up a little bit of emotion,” Moore said.

When we spoke with investigator Josh Morgan Monday, he said since October 27th, there have been four reports of stolen flags on both W. Maple and W. Pine Street in Johnson City.

Image from surveillance video captured by Lee’s neighbor

“Given the close proximity of time and location we are looking to see if these are connected at this point,” Morgan said.

The most recent incident happened in the early morning hours on Saturday, that’s when Amber Lee said someone stole her rainbow flag, and set it on fire.

“They set the rainbow flag, the flag I replaced, they set it on fire,” Lee said.

Lee shared surveillance video with us that was captured by a neighbor.

In the bottom right hand corner of your screen, at one point if you look closely you can see what she describes as the flag going up in flames.

“They set this flag on fire while it was still attached to my house, and of course that’s incredibly dangerous, there could have been a lot of property damage, or somebody could have been really hurt,” Lee said.

Sunday, Lee showed us the charred remains left behind on both her front walkway, and the bushes nearby.

“The flag, the strip strip attatching it to the pole was still there, but it had been ripped as hard as it could, I mean obviously somebody put all of their weight on it to bend a metal pole…the foolishness, and the disregard for human life, it’s very troubling that there’s someone like that, that is terrorizing our neighborhood,” Lee said.

Amber Lee said that even though her flag has now been stolen on multiple occasions, it hasn’t stopper her from putting up another one.

Monday, when we stopped by we found she already had a new rainbow flag on her front door.

If you have any information that could help Johnson City police crack these cases of theft and vandalism, you are asked to call Crimestoppers at 423-434-6158.


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