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Kalispell bookstore owners believe store was vandalized due to Pride Flag

The Bookshelf
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jul 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 14:19:44-04

KALISPELL — The owners of The Bookshelf -- a bookstore in downtown Kalispel -- believe they were targeted for vandalism Sunday night due to a Pride Flag they had hanging in one of the store windows.

“And it’s right where we had the Pride Flag that’s behind us in the window displayed, that was right were the window was broken and the flag was thrown inside on the floor.” The Bookshelf Co-owner Kyle Fort tells MTN News.

Mary Wolf and Kyle Fort have co-owned the quiet Bookshelf bookstore in downtown Kalispell off Main Street with no incidents since 2014.

Bookshelf Vandalism

They were surprised when they received a call from a neighboring business Monday morning that their store had been vandalized.

“There wasn’t a brick or a rock or anything so whatever they broke the window with they took with them when they left,” said Fort.

Wolf said the bookstore is covered with windows, but the only window smashed in the entire store was the one showcasing the Pride Flag.

Bookshelf Vandalism

She thinks the vandalism done to her store was coordinated.

“I mean part of me would love to say no, but at the same time we’re a bookstore that is covered in windows, so it seems pretty clear cut to me,” said Wolf.

The Bookshelf owners pride themselves on being an open, safe resource for the LGBTQ+ community.

Book Shelf Vandalism

The Pride Flag had been hanging in the store's window every day for the last two years.

“I just kind of liked it so we left it, and it’s always been something that we’ve cared about but it’s become something that we both have become more active in really supporting,” said Fort.

He said no items were stolen from the store and they will soon have an estimate on replacing the window.

Bookshelf Van

Once the window is replaced, Fort said the flag will go right back to its original place.

“Will get a new window sticker and will keep our flag in the window and will move on,” said Fort.

Kalispell Police Chief Doug Overman tells MTN News that the case is an active investigation and anyone with leads is asked to call 406-758-7793.

Chief Overman said the police department has not seen a recent uptick in reported LGBTQ+ crimes or incidents.