Evansville Police investigating reports of stolen, damaged Pride sign

EVANSVILLE, Wis.– Evansville Police Department is investigating an incident where an Evansville Pride sign was reportedly stolen out of someone’s yard and lit on fire. Part of the incident was filmed on Snapchat and now circulating Facebook.

A LGBTQ advocate in the community, Denise Paese, said the Snapchat video of a burning Evansville Pride sign was sent to a youth LGBTQ member. That person posted the video in a Pride Facebook group.

“I was in tears, because pretty much, I feel safe in my community, and I have a lot of support from this community, but it made me very scared for our youth,” Paese said.

Paese said she ordered over 50 Evansville Pride signs for Pride Month and kept a list of those who had bought a sign from her.

“I reached out to everyone that bought a sign from me, asking if theirs had been stolen or if they had given theirs to someone else,” Paese said. “Right away, a gentleman said he and his wife’s sign had been stolen.”

Paese said she reported the incident to the Rock County Sheriff’s Office. Evansville Police Chief Patrick Reese said the reports were passed to their department.

Reese said the department is still gathering information and it has not been determined if it will be investigated as a hate crime.

Paese said she wants people to understand that there’s no room for hate in her community.

“I want them to see that and to hear us and to know that we are here and not going to let that kind of behavior continue to happen,” Paese said.

Paese said interest in purchasing signs and support has grown, including two $200 donations from people in the community.