For over six weeks, Daniel Maynard and his partner have had pride flags stolen and vandalized from the front of their Rio Rancho home.
Maynard, who lives in Cabezon, said on July 22 someone stole the pride flag that was hanging in his front yard. Since then, Maynard has had a replacement pride flag stolen nine other times. The flagpole in the yard was also damaged.
“We went out and got a new flag and put it up,” Maynard said. “The next weekend, it was stolen again. It’s been going on every weekend since then.”
Labor Day weekend, a pride flag was stolen from Maynard’s yard on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Maynard put a tracking device on the flag that was stolen Sunday.
Maynard has six videos of the flag being stolen by what looks like a group of teenagers.
“At first we thought maybe they were in their 20s,” Maynard said. “But the more I look at it, I think it’s teenagers. Also, this is kid stuff that adults don’t have time for.”
Maynard feels he is being targeted because of the pride flag.
“I don’t know how deeply indoctrinated these kids are,” Maynard said. “But all we’re trying to do is live our lives and show that we are part of a community and that community is visible.”
The group is getting more brazen. Last weekend, three of the thieves approached Maynard’s door while wearing ski masks, flipped off the doorbell camera, rang the bell and ran away.
“It has escalated from stealing the flag, to burning the flag, to coming to our door,” Maynard said. “This is hate crime; this is domestic terrorism. I wouldn’t say that I’m scared, but I do worry that if they’re brave enough to come to our door knowing that the camera is recording and displaying for the camera, are they willing to enter the house, are they willing to break the window, are they willing to hurt animals?”
Maynard said Rio Rancho Police Department is investigating the incidents.
“RRPD has been great. Rio Rancho Police Department has been responsive and kind but are also limited in what they can actually do,” Maynard said. “At the current time it’s really just kids being a–holes. But I wouldn’t want to pull them away from actual crime and actual situations where they’re needed. Because it is escalating, it is kind of concerning.”