Man arrested for Frenchtown Pride flag vandalization

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Rainbow Flag on a flag pole with a clear blue sky in the back ground
Rainbow Flag

A 30-year-old New Jersey man has been arrested after several Pride rainbow flags were stolen from locations in Frenchtown, Hunterdon County Prosecutor Renée M. Robeson said. 

Justin T. Settembrino, of Frenchtown, was charged with one count of fourth-degree bias intimidation, two counts of theft of movable property, and one count of criminal mischief.

The homes vandalized were in the neighborhood between 4th and 6th streets on the night of Sunday, Aug. 7 and Monday, Aug. 8. At least eleven LGBTQ Pride flags were stolen or damaged in the act.  

Settembrino’s arrest came after police were dispatched Sunday, Aug. 28 morning to “a report of several LGBTQ+ Pride flags recovered in the Delaware River by a concerned citizen,” Robeson’s office said. 

“Further investigation resulted in the discovery of video surveillance from the previous night which captured the perpetrator stealing the flags in question,” Robeson’s office said. “Mr. Settembrino was positively identified as the person in the surveillance video.”

Settembrino was placed in the Warren County Jail following his arrest.

Before Settembrino was identified, a $2,500 reward was offered by the Hunterdon County Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest. It is not clear as to whether that reward has been claimed.  

Robeson’s office said “law enforcement, borough officials, and community members have rallied together to bring those responsible to justice.”

Related story: LGBTQ Pride flags stolen during bias vandalism in Frenchtown

Journalist Chelsey Johnstone is the former Project Manager for Greater Trenton and was primary writer for TrentonDaily. She is a senior journalism major at Montclair State University and former communication and music student at Mercer County Community College. While attending her community college, Chelsey led her student newspaper, The College VOICE, as Editor-in-Chief. Now, Chelsey is working to advance her journalist skills freelancing for Out in Jersey Magazine and Unclear Magazine with the hope of positively impacting the world of reporting.