AMES, Iowa– Police say a man stole a pride flag from an Ames church and lit on fire, one day after Capital City Pride Fest.
“He was burning a pride flag,” Dangerous Curves Gentleman’s Club Employee Brooke Schlickte said.
Schlickte has served a lot of customers at this gentleman’s club but what happened Monday was a first.
“He was holding the flag in one hand and he was spraying it with lighter fluid at the same time in doing that he caught a patrons car tire on fire,” Schlickte said.
The alleged suspect, 30-year-old Adolfo Martinez, faces multiple charges including harassment, reckless use of fire, and theft.
Police say Martinez stole the flag; he tore it down from the Ames United Church of Christ’s doorway.
“He went out of his way to walk back to our church he passed by a sign that is at ground level that says we support refugees and Muslims and had to climb up to get our pride flag,” Pastor Eileen Gebbie said.
After stealing the flag, police say Martinez returned to the gentleman’s club, that’s walking distance and lit the flag on fire.
“We have been preparing for violence ourselves so it’s not surprising, but it is heart breaking,” Pastor Gebbie said.
Police say there are only charred remnants of the flag.
The church forgives Martinez but Schlickte says Martinez can never return to the gentleman’s club again.
“I have a no trespassing order he is not welcomed back in my bar, if I see him on my cameras i am calling the cops immediately,” Schlickte said.
Police say Martinez didn’t seem to be drunk and admitted to stealing the flag and lighting it on fire.
We knocked on Martinez’s apartment door for comment, but no one answered.
He’s currently free on bond and scheduled to be back in court later this month.