A 34-year-old man was charged after police said he tore more than a dozen pride flags from a Connecticut Democrat organization's sign, which was already vandalized multiple times earlier this summer.
Troopers responded to a report of an individual damaging property in the area of the I-84 eastbound on-ramp in Tolland at about 11:30 a.m. on Sept. 20, Connecticut State Police said.
Police found that the flags had been torn and cut from the Tolland Democrats' sign, which is located on private property on Merrow Road next to the on-ramp.
Investigators used video evidence provided by a witness to identify the suspect as Hartford County resident David Paquette, of Manchester, State Police reported.
Authorities said Paquette was arrested at his home and charged with third-degree criminal mischief.
He was released on $2,500 non-surety bond and is set to appear in court on Sunday, Oct. 11, police said.
The sign was previously vandalized over the summer when an individual spray painted over a pride flag that was painted on the sign, the Tolland Democrats reported.
"The Tolland Democrats are extremely disappointed that someone has defaced the Pride flag painted on the large sign at Exit 68, on private property," the organization said in a statement on Monday, July 18. "The Pride flag is there in our beautiful town as an intentional reminder of inclusion. It is of prime import to Tolland Democrats that every person feels safe and accepted in Tolland. We condemn this individual’s actions, which appear to be motivated by hatred and intolerance."
On Saturday, July 23, the Tolland Democrats painted the words "Love Conquers All" on the sign and added the pride flags around it.
On Friday, Aug. 5, the organization reported that the sign was vandalized again when an individual used a power tool to destroy the sign's support.
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