Belen ‘flag thief’ accused of stealing American flags

New Mexico

BELEN, N.M. (KRQE) – Stolen Star-Spangled Banner: Belen police are trying to track down who is stealing American flags around town. Police don’t know why someone would do this, but they’re looking for a suspect so they can charge them for the crime.

“Not only is it a crime to remove these flags, but it shows great disrespect to our country by placing the American flag on the ground,” said Belen Police Chief Victor Rodriguez.

Since Monday, flags have been stolen from the VFW, the firehouse, the Motor Vehicles Department, the 9/11 Memorial Park and Anna Becker Park. A few of the flags were found on the floor at Anna Becker Park, but most of them are still missing.

The Commander of the VFW Post in Belen says this act of theft is more than disappointing, it’s disrespectful.

“They were quite outraged by it. You don’t want to get a bunch of vets angry,” said VFW Post Commander Charles Cox.

Police have a vague description of the suspect. They’re looking for a Hispanic man with a heavy build and a salt and pepper beard. Chief Rodriguez says he seems to be striking at night.

Once the flag thief is caught, they will be facing larceny and trespassing charges. Police say it’s too early in their investigation to know whether this is politically motivated.

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