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Owen County Teens Accused Of Vandalizing Spencer Pride Director's Property

Pride flag

This picture shows the American and Pride flags before the vandalism occurred. (Courtesy of Jonathan Balash)

Two Owen County teens are accused of vandalizing property owned by the director of Spencer Pride and his husband. 

Zachary Crites, 18, and a juvenile allegedly stole and damaged a rainbow Pride flag earlier this month from Jonathan Balash's property. Balash says the teens told police they vandalized the property because he's gay. 

He says Crites used a chain to try and pry the flagpole loose. 

"They were able to bend the pole, it buckled the base of the flagpole, but ultimately the flagpole was still standing," Balash says. "The only reason why that attempt was stopped is because the bumper came off of their vehicle."

Balash says he suspects Crites came back a couple nights later to finish the job by cutting the flag down.

Authorities say a yellow-and-black rope left behind after the teens tried to tear the flagpole down tied them to the incident. 

The son of a Bloomington Police officer admitted to trying to take down the couple's American flag and a gay pride flag in rural Owen County after his mother confirmed the rope was initially used at their home for a swing.

Crites faces a charge of criminal mischief. He also faces charges of burglary, theft and theft of a firearm in a separate case from earlier this month. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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