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Unlikely bandit takes couple’s Pride flag from University Heights home

Updated: May. 2, 2021 at 2:51 PM EDT
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UNIVERSITY HEIGHTS, Ohio (WOIO) - Some would say Edgerton Road in University Heights was a quiet neighborhood until a theft sent neighbors into a tailspin.

“I came home from work and noticed that the Pride flag was missing,” said resident, Charlie Olivo.

Olivo told 19 News he turned to social media Tuesday to help find the culprit, hoping neighbors would supply Ring camera footage.

Neighbors were outraged when they heard about it, including Joe Hochhieser who offered to replace the Pride flag and donate ten more to those who wanted them.

“We kind of live in this time where there’s a lot of negativity. I thought, how can we spread a little bit of joy, how can we spread a little bit of light?” said Hochhieser.

It turns out someone in the couple’s family cracked the case later that night: Daisy.

“Our dog started barking out the window and like directly at the tree. 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,” said Olivo.

Apparently, the raccoon got the flag off the pole and up into a tree where it built a nest, right in the front yard of their home.

“We were shocked and a little bit like, ‘Oh my gosh, we can’t believe this happened,’” said Olivo.

Olivo said some of their neighbors are now flying Pride flags to stand in solidarity.

“It was very heartwarming but a good ending. He can keep the flag,” said Olivo, laughing.

“The raccoon wanted a Pride flag as well. So that’s what I was going with. Now there are 11 new flags going to be flying. Ten that I’m giving away and the raccoon has one as well,” said Hochhieser.

This ‘wild’ story that has prompted lots of support. Not only LGBTQ couples in University Heights, but also the LGBT Center of Greater Cleveland.

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