As Americans show their love of country this Independence Day, they’re being forced to battle thieves, vandals and arsonists.
Eric Irvin is resorting to increasing his home security to protect his American flag.
Irvin lives in a Peachtree City, Georgia neighborhood that has been hit by a rash of flag thefts just before the 4th of July.
“It frustrates me,” Irvin says of the thief who swiped flags from the houses in his neighborhood, which is filled with veterans.
“I served for 20 years and it means a lot to me and my soldiers,” neighbor Bob Karpiak says of the American flag.
“It kind of pisses me off,” a more blunt Phillip Griffiths tells CBS 46. “They’re either stupid out just outright disrespectful.”
“I was eight years with the Army,” Georgia Pappas says. “I’m just really appalled. I don’t understand why anyone would do that. Even if it’s just a joke, someone is doing it trying to be funny, I don’t find it funny.”
“I served in the United States Army for more than 16 years,” neighbor Frank Ward says, according to ABC 57. “All of us patriotic folks who live here have a problem with this.
“Peachtree City is one of the best places to celebrate the Fourth of July. It makes me feel terrible. It’s just disgraceful to me to think that anybody would steal or take somebody’s flag. I think all of us patriotic folks that live here have a problem with this.”
Peachtree City police have not identified any leads in the rash of flag thefts.
Homeowners aren’t sitting idly by. Bob Karpiak has already replaced his.
“In the grand scheme of things it was small,” he tells the news station. “I’m sure it was kids being kids. Hopefully their parents will correct them.”
Meanwhile, a homeowner in Dearborn Heights, Michigan came home to find her flag ripped off her front porch and burned in her front yard.
“Responding officers found the flag charred and in several small pieces when they arrived at the house,” the Press and Guide reports.
It had been attached to a pole on the porch.
Smyrna, Delaware residents decorated their town with 5,600 small American flags along the roadways.
Shortly after, they found 42 of them had been vandalized.
“We just put them up [Thursday] and they hadn’t been up 24 hours yet,” Mayor Joanne Masten tells the Delaware State News. “It looks like they took the flags and just snapped them off. I think it was obviously somebody that hadn’t been taught respect and to take pride in your community and take pride in America.”
“I think it’s really sad that you try to be patriotic and somebody comes along and vandalizes,” says Cheryl Thornton, who had one of her flags stolen.
“It just doesn’t make any sense to me. I guess they just don’t have anything better to do. I guess somebody was just trying to be mischievous, which is a shame.”