Escalating Pride flag vandalism draws concern in Rio Rancho

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RIO RANCHO, N.M. — They want to be inclusive. They want to recognize there are people from all walks of life living nearby.

Now, a couple fears that symbol has invited trouble literally to their front door.

For a little more than a month, every week, someone comes onto Daniel Maynard’s driveway. Then, they steal his Pride flag.

“We got a little crazy and like bolted this thing to the house. Then, we also bolted the pole to the holder. It’s pretty sturdy, but they pull so hard that they’ve bent the pole, like, in half, multiple times,” Daniel Maynard explained.

Every time he replaces it, sometimes with a different flag, sometimes in a different place, they return every week.

“It’s not like I hate these kids. They’re doing what they’re doing. They’re living their lives, but I just wish it didn’t involve mine,” Maynard said.

Lately, things have started to escalate.

“The last time put an Airtag in one of the flags so that we could kind of figure out where they were going with it,” Maynard stated.

They tracked their stolen flag to a nearby arroyo. There, they found it in a burned heap on the ground.

“It’s starting to feel a little less, like, kids being kids getting into trouble and a little bit more like a hate crime,” he said.

He says they have returned the last three nights in a row – sometimes not just for the flag.

“It captured kids in ski masks coming up the driveway, probably 11, 11:30 wearing ski masks, flipping us off in the camera and then running,” Maynard explained.

The video shows three people. The first rings the doorbell. One is in a Hooters Cancun shirt. The other rings the doorbell, wearing a black and white fuzzy ski mask.

“If they’re willing to come to our front door, ring the doorbell, wear masks, are they willing to enter our home? Are our pets at risk? Like… there’s a little fear there, yeah,” Maynard expressed.

He says many of their neighbors have been supportive. Some even replaced their flag anonymously.

After another weekend of destruction, Maynard and his husband are ready for the alleged vandals to leave them alone.

“I just want me, and my husband and people like us to just live in peace. That’s it. That’s really what I want,” Maynard said.

According to Maynard, Rio Rancho police launched a criminal investigation. We reached out to them Monday but haven’t heard back.