BETHEL, Conn. (WTNH) — A local coffee shop says it was the victim of a hateful act. Molten Java in Bethel says late Saturday night, someone stole the cafe’s Pride flag, burned it, then dumped it back on Molten Java’s doorstep.
In a Facebook post, Bethel police confirm they are looking into reports of a damaged flag. Police say two men are seen on video taking the flag, and later one man returns it to the coffee shop.
Barista Riley Esposito believes the suspects may have been trying to send a message, “Bringing it back certainly feels like a threat to me,” said Esposito.
But the response was most likely not what the suspects intended. Instead of fear and silence, allies from near and far are turning up the volume — stopping by, calling in orders for strangers, marching and carrying their own pride flags and signs outside the coffee shop.
Molten Java is now asking anyone who wants to help to donate towards Bethel’s pride parade.
“These safe spaces exist because of people who have so much hate in their lives. That is why places like this open,” said Esposito.
By staying open, Molten Java is also inspiring others to show their true colors, too.
“I probably passed about five new rainbow flags that weren’t up yesterday,” said Esposito.
Police are investigating.