Early Saturday morning, someone snuck down Burien’s SW 152nd Street, snatching rainbow flags from streetlights and stuffing them into a bag. Grainy surveillance footage captured a hooded figure, and although it’s impossible to make out their face, the incident is strikingly similar to a previous theft of the city’s Pride flags back in 2020.
After the theft two years ago, Kaiser Permanente stepped up to pay for new flags. This year, Discover Burien is ordering replacements, and they plan to have them back up in time for the last weekend of June.
“We’ve had a lot of community support,” says Debra George, executive director of Discover Burien. “The business owners of our downtown commercial area are all very sad to see the flags have been taken.”
Two years ago, the thieves appeared to leave behind stickers bearing the name of white nationalist organization Patriot Front, the same group that reportedly planned to instigate a riot at a Pride in Idaho.
Though no stickers have been found in Burien this year, George says they haven’t checked every streetlight. Their focus is on restoring the flags and making a strong show of support for the queer community. “We … will continue to fight for their freedom to be who they are,” George says. “Burien is a very open and welcoming community, and we’re not going to tolerate hate.”