SANDY, Utah — A man who police say was involved in a homophobic attack on a Sandy teenager just two weeks earlier was arrested for returning to the victim's home and stealing LGBTQIA+ Pride flags.
Hayden Perry Stowell, 19, was arrested Saturday and charged Monday with a 3rd-degree felony count of retaliation against a witness or victim, as well as a Class-A misdemeanor of criminal mischief with the intent to damage or destroy property.
Police wrote in the arrest report that Stowell was involved in a hate crime assault that occurred in the early morning of July 30. In that incident, the 17-year-old victim was hugging his boyfriend goodnight when the suspect (a minor whose name has not been released) drove by and yelled a slur. About 45 minutes later, police said the suspect and others returned and got out of the vehicle and continued to yell homophobic slurs before the juvenile suspect punched the victim in the face.
Stowell has not been charged in connection with the initial attack, but arresting officers in the retaliation case wrote that he is considered a suspect and "has several cases pending involving the victim."
Police say Stowell was seen on surveillance cameras early Saturday morning taking Pride flags and signs from the victim's home. The flags were reportedly strewn across the yard and the street in front of the house, and one of the flagpoles was broken.
Charging documents stated that there appeared to be no connection between the victim and any of the people involved in the alleged hate crime until the group saw the teen standing outside his own home with his boyfriend.
Police recommended in the report that Stowell not be granted bail because his alleged actions "targeted members of the LGBTQ community." A judge then ordered that Stowell be held without bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for Wednesday.