CHICAGO (FOX 32) - Chicago police are investigating the vandalism of gay pride flags at a Wicker Park church as a possible hate crime.
The pastor says it has happened before; about four years ago, their pride flags were vandalized. However, this year it appears the suspect keeps coming back.
Twice now LGBTQ flags on the front of the Wicker Park Lutheran Church have been targeted. The flags, which have been there all year, were torn from the building, replaced and then defaced.
“To kind of have this hate-based thing happen not once but twice, it starts to make your stomach curl a little bit,” said Rev. Jason S. Glombicki, Wicker Park Lutheran Church.
Church surveillance cameras show an individual, early Sunday morning, jump the fence and land in a small garden in front of the building. The person quickly goes out of frame, that's when Pastor Jason Glombicki says the flags were vandalized.
On a transgender flag, there was a spray-painted big black ”X” and on the pride flag the words "we love children" -- a confusing message to summer camp counselor Kelli Lawrence, who says kids pass by the church every day.
“I know a lot of them really don’t understand but some of them have LGBT parents so that always hits hard,” said Lawrence.
“I’m glad it appears to be an outlier thing and not really what this community is about but it happened and it's upsetting,” said Marr Cerney, a neighbor.
The pastor says about a week ago the first set of flags were ripped down. He replaced them and that's when the criminal struck again.
In response, the pastor has now put up four flags and says they will continue to welcome everyone.
“Over and over again love will always overcome hate,” said Rev. Glombicki.
The same day Chicago hosts the annual pride parade this Sunday, the church will place hundreds of small pride flags in front of the church.