California father warns others after being harassed over dinosaur flag

Thien Ly, who is Vietnamese, can't help but think the tirade had something to do with his race; San Jose police investigating

ByDion Lim KGO logo
Tuesday, September 28, 2021
EXCLUSIVE: SJ man warns others after being harassed over flag
A San Jose father is sending a warning to neighbors about a man who harassed him about his child's dinosaur flag.

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- A San Jose father is sending a warning to neighbors about a man who harassed him about his child's dinosaur flag. According to the homeowner and police, the suspect later came back to vandalize the family's vehicles.

Thien Ly's surveillance camera captures the moment last Wednesday evening when he was about to take his 3-year-old and 20-month-old to the park after work when suddenly a man drives up and asks "what flag is that?" and points to the flag near Ly's garage.

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Mistakenly thinking the man was asking about his bicycle, not the dinosaur flag Ly's bought for his 3-year-old son, he answers by saying the brand of the bike.

The man appears to be unsatisfied with Ly's answer and that's when things start getting awkward.

The man can be heard saying on surveillance, "Is that a Filipino thing?"

Ly believes the man may have mistaken the brand of the bicycle, Taga with Tagalog, a language spoken in the Philippines. Ly by the way, is Vietnamese.

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The man's questions get more bizarre and offensive.

"What's your favorite charity homie? What's your favorite charity?"

Then the man can be heard saying, "I'm sure your marriage is going so're a weirdo, a creep. A pedophile creep."

The man even curses in front of Ly's children asking "can't you answer my simple f**king question?"

Ly stays calm through it all despite the man threatening to come back to the home later to talk to his wife. What happened was much worse.

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San Jose police said the man returned several hours later to commit vandalism.

"He came back and he smashed both of my cars with weights," said Ly, who then held up the 2.5-pound circular weight he found in between his children's car seats in the back row of one vandalized car.

While San Jose police said the incident doesn't appear to be hate-motivated Ly can't help but think he was targeted because of his race.

"At first he thought I was Filipino because I can pass for Filipino, but I'm actually Vietnamese," said Ly.

This is why he's speaking out -- to protect his usually quiet neighborhood.

"Whoever this person is I hope they get caught so this doesn't happen to anyone else. I want to shine light on this and make sure it's safe for everyone and safe for my kids growing up in this neighborhood," said Ly.