Windows shattered at Orlando LGBTQ businesses targeted by vandal

Businesses to remain open despite damage

ORLANDO, Fla. – A pair of Orlando businesses that cater to the LGBTQ community were targeted by a vandal who shattered several windows before running away.

According to police, a man was caught on surveillance video outside District Dive and Southern Craft in the 2400 block of South St. around 3:41 a.m. on Wednesday. Both businesses are located in the Southern Nights complex, which is itself an LGBTQ nightclub.

The video shows the man use an unknown item to shatter the windows, investigators said.

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The man — who was wearing a hoodie and possibly carrying a bag — was last seen running west on South Street across Bumby Avenue.

“It’s a reminder of how hateful people can be,” said Blue Star, a worker at Southern Nights.

Workers spent Wednesday boarding up windows and covering holes caused by the vandal.

Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said it is still too early to tell whether this act of vandalism is also a hate crime.

“That’s why it’s really important to apprehend the suspect and to figure out what was in that person’s mind, because in order to (convict someone of) a hate crime you have to prove intent,” she said.


Orlando Police Chief Eric Smith released a statement about the vandalism. It reads:

“The Orlando Police Department does not tolerate criminal behavior of any kind. Whoever committed this brazen vandalism against our city’s LGBTQ+ businesses will be held accountable.”

Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer also posted on Twitter about the crime.

“It’s awful to see that small businesses that are beloved by members of Orlando’s LGBTQ+ community were vandalized. These acts are not tolerated in our inclusive community,” the post reads.

Anyone with information on the vandalism is asked to call Orlando police at 321-235-5300 or call Crimeline at 1-800-423-8477.

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About the Authors:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.

Brian Didlake joined the News 6 team as a reporter in March 2021.