BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Six teenagers are facing charges for the theft of three flags from the Belen Veteran’s Memorial. “This kind of disrespect to our veterans and our, American flag to the veterans of city of Belen and Valencia county is not going to be tolerated,” said Chief James Harris, Belen Police Department.

The teens were caught on surveillance video June 3 at the veterans memorial at Eagle Park. They can be seen jumping over the locked gate and taking some time to take the flags down, while three others waited outside before the group ran away. Later, the teens are seen walking with the flag in hand dragging on the ground.


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This all happened just days after the Memorial Day event to honor veterans and retire an old flag in an official ceremony to put a brand new flag up. It also prompted the mayor to offer a $250 reward and the chief $100 for information leading to the flag’s recovery. It took just hours for someone to turn the kids in.

While the flags were recovered, they will have to be destroyed. People in Belen say the kids need to learn a lesson. “I think the youth need to realize everyone needs to realize the sacrifices made for our country,” said Belen Mayor Robert Noblin Jr.

The chief says the teens ranged in age from 14 to 16. One of the girls had stolen her grandmother’s car and they are also accused of breaking into the pool and causing some damage. As for the tipster, they donated the money back to the city so they can use it to replace the flags.