Investigators in Weatherford, Texas, are looking for vandals who have reportedly stolen American flags from local homes and burned them, CBS DFW reported Monday. So far, Joel Thomas said, at least seven flags have been stolen and burned.
In one case, Thomas said, investigators looked and saw the burned outline of one flag still attached to the pole. The flag had been flying on the porch of one Weatherford home. According to Thomas, that incident was the fourth flag reported burned on Monday alone.
"This one we just discovered within the hour,” Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins said. Worse yet, homeowners said they didn't know what was going on.
"We just drove up an hour ago and the fire was in the middle of the driveway,” Rowlee Johnson told CBS. “We had no idea what had happened.”
"I think everybody has the right to burn a flag in protest, that kind of thing, but not to come on my property and burn something of mine," Vietnam veteran Joe Wylie told a local Fox News affiliate. Wylie, Fox added, also had a flag stolen and burned.
Seven flags have been burned since Friday. According to reports, flags are being thrown onto the streets or driveways and set set on fire. One flag was lowered and burned on the flagpole. Residents, Thomas said, are outraged over the vandalism.
“We had one woman whose two sons are serving in Afghanistan,” Hopkins explained. “She was very upset because that flag for a lot of people resembles their pride in their nation, their home, everything they believe in.”
The flags were quickly replaced, but residents want answers and they want the vandalism stopped. They also want to know what message the vandals are trying to send and expressed concern the fires could get out of control.
“I would just ask him why he’s doing it,” Johnson added. “There’s no reason to harm other people with what he’s trying to do.”
Capt. Greg Lance of the Weatherford Police Department said "the way they’re laying out the flags and burning them" would indicate the vandals are trying to make a statement. Parker County Crime Stoppers has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Those with information can contact Crime Stoppers online or call 817-599-5555.