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Veteran’s powerful message for thief who stole, dragged American flag

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. – A Chester veteran is asking the CBS 6 Problem Solvers for help spreading the word after he said someone stole his beloved American flag and then dragged Old Glory on the ground.

The Virginia and American flags on display in Chester.

The Virginia and American flags on display in Chester.

“I’ve been real lucky,” said Tommy, who spoke about the ordeal, but requested that WTVR CBS 6 not use his last name. “Twenty-eight years I’ve been flying one and this is the first one I’ve ever had anybody steal.”

Tommy said the crime happened a month ago when a mystery man swiped his 10 x 19 foot flag and the entire act was captured by his security cameras.

“He came from the next-door lot and came across in front of the sign and squatted down below the pole,” Tommy said. “Then he stood up and that’s when I could see his features.”

He reported the crime to police and told officers the act was caught on camera.

And even more disturbing than the theft, Tommy was staggered to see the thief dragging the flag on the ground.

Tommy's sign along Route 10.

Tommy's sign along Route 10.

As a result of the theft, Tommy posted a sign at the end of his driveway on Route 10 which reads: FLAG THIEF VIDEO WILL POST U IF NO RETURN FELONY JAIL.

"I just put it there because I know he sees it," Tommy explained. "Every time he goes by, it reminds him [that] he doesn't have to steal an American flag."

Tommy's daughter, Kathy, who knows how much significance the flag holds in her dad's heart, said the whole ordeal has been upsetting for the family.

“If you are bold enough to do that, then you’re bold enough to do anything,” she said. “Nowadays you never know with people.”

Reporter Shelby Brown talks to Tommy's daughter, Kathy.

Reporter Shelby Brown talks to Tommy's daughter, Kathy.

Kathy is hopeful the thief will have a change of heart because he stole something that she knows her dad would have gladly given to him had he just asked.

“It wouldn’t bother me if he brought it back and said, ‘Hey, I didn't mean to steal your flag, but I did,'” Tommy said. "I’d just tell him to take care of what he’s supposed to do with it and take it to the American Legion and tell them it hit the ground and they will know how to dispose of it. And if you want another one, I’ll give you one.”

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Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.

Need help? Contact the CBS 6 Problem Solvers.