Watch: When Ohio Gay Couple's Pride Flag Went Missing, the Culprit Turned Out to Be...

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday May 4, 2021
Originally published on May 4, 2021

A gay couple living in University Heights, Ohio, thought that hate had struck their peaceful neighborhood when their Pride flag went missing. Neighbors rose to the occasion, showing their solidarity - and then, in a twist, the surprising perpetrator was revealed, reports local news channel Cleveland 19.

Charlie Olivo told the station how he came home from work one evening and "noticed that the Pride flag was missing." He took to social media, posting on April 27 about the missing flag and asking his neighbors for help in identifying the culprit. Olivo hoped someone in the neighborhood might have captured footage of the thief on security cameras.

No such footage came to light, but the neighborhood came together in solidarity. One neighbor, Joe Hochhieser, even stepped up with an offer to replace the missing flag, and, on top of that, donate an additional 10 flags to be shared with whomever in the neighborhood might want to fly the rainbow colors in support.

Olivo and his husband's clever canine, Daisy, was the one who actually solved the mystery.

"Our dog started barking out the window and, like, directly at the tree," Olivo recounted in an on-air interview with the news station. "So I opened the blinds, looked out the window and saw this little red and orange stripe. I said 'Oh my gosh, I think that's our Pride flag' and I looked and saw a big, fat raccoon walking up the limb, back and forth."

The raccoon had taken the flag for use in building a comfy nest high up in the tree, the report detailed.

"Now there are 11 new flags going to be flying," Hochheiser joked. "Ten that I'm giving away, and the raccoon has one as well."

Saying that the raccoon "can keep the flag," Olivo told the news channel, "It was very heartwarming but a good ending."

To watch the Cleveland 19 news clip, follow tis link.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.