Forsyth County authorities investigating anti-gay flag hate crime

A Forsyth County woman woke up Tuesday morning to find a vandalized yard and the remains of a burned rainbow flag on the windshield of her car.

The incident is being investigated as an anti-gay hate crime, Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Robin Regan said.

“We do believe they were targeted due to their sexual orientation,” Regan said.

The spokesman said the incident occurred sometime late Monday night or early Tuesday morning at the residence in a subdivision off Cumming’s Hurt Bridge Road. The rainbow flag — which was placed on the front of the home following Friday’s Supreme Court decision that legalized gay marriage across the country — was removed, doused in an accelerant and set on fire.

The damage was “mostly contained” to the windshield area of the car that the flag was placed on, Regan said.

The same accelerant used to start the flag fire — believed to be “Tiki Torch fluid,” Regan said — was poured in a semicircle around the vehicle and ignited.

An incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said bark had also been stripped from a peach tree in the victim’s front yard. Flowers were uprooted and rocks lining the garden had been “thrown around the yard,” the report said.

The victim reportedly told police she had “had problems with teenagers in the neighborhood before due to (her) relationship.”

“However this had gone too far,” the incident report said, “and she now feared for the safety of her family.”

Regan said his department’s property crimes and special victims units were working the case together. No suspects had been identified.

Nobody inside the home was hurt during the incident.

“It is an isolated incident,” Regan said, “but also something that we’re not going to tolerate here in Forsyth County.”