WARSAW, N.C. (WNCT)–It’s an act so brazen that it left the Warsaw Fire Department in disbelief. On Friday, a man stole the American flag from right in front of the station.
“We were angry, mad, and very shocked,” Assistant Chief Lee Graham said.
That night, Graham noticed the thief walking off the property as they returned from a football game. But it wasn’t until the next day, after returning from a woods fire call, that they noticed the flag missing.
The department searched through its security camera footage, which sure enough, caught the thief in the act.
“He approached from the back of the building and walked right around front,” Graham said. “Vehicles would ride by. He’d stop what he was doing and sit on our brand new brick wall and then he would go back to doing what he was doing once they left.”
Half of the department is made up of veterans from almost all branches of the military.
“We are proud of our country. We are proud of our flag, and it really hit home knowing someone would do that to us,” Graham said.
The Warsaw Fire Department has been flying an American flag out front since the 1920’s when it was in its original building.
“For somebody to take it, I believe it was disrespectful,” Graham said. “I think they had some type of ill intent when they took it. But we’re going to overcome it.”
The flagpole only remained bare for about 12 hours. A member donated a flag the station could use temporarily. On Thursday, Woodmen Life donated a new, permanent 5 X 8 flag.
“Every time I see the flag waving in the wind, it’s very meaningful to me,” Will Rumbold, the local representative for Woodmen Life, said. “It gives us pride that we’re able to present those to folks.”
Rumbold says the organization’s donated over two dozen flags to the local community in the last year alone. The community prides itself on patriotism and helping others. That’s why Graham doesn’t understand why the thief did this.
“I don’t know if he was homeless and needed a blanket, I don’t know if he’s a proud American and wanted a flag but either way if he’d have come to our front door and asked for help or asked for a flag, we’d have made sure he got one,” he said.
If you have any information about the incident, you’re asked to give the Warsaw Police Department a call.