Flags taken from graves at Bangor cemetery

Posted at 6:39 PM, Sep 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-15 21:44:57-04

BANGOR, Mich. — Dozens of American flags have mysteriously disappeared from graves at the Arlington Hill Cemetery. Some of them were taken from veterans' graves and residents are upset.

"We found out about this yesterday from our public works department," said Chief Tommy Simpson with the Bangor Police Department. "They were out there mowing and they noticed somebody went out and damaged the flagpoles, about 50 grave markers and they stole 50 american flags attached to the grave markers."

Immediately after police were contacted, they posted a message on Facebook Wednesday night alerting the public to the incident.

"It's disrespectful," said Chief Simpson. "A lot of people in town are worked up over it."

And they are. Residents tell FOX 17 that they're shocked it's happened and everyone's trying to figure out who did it. Some people believe it was a group of kids who may be responsible.

"It could be," said Dick Beckwith about kids being the culprits. "But normally we would see the kids or the dogs that we have would let us know that there's somebody out there. They let us know every time a car goes through."

Beckwith said it could be anybody. He's lived near the cemetery for 13 years with his wife and their dogs and it's been relatively quiet. He said they use to chain the cemetery up at night to keep vandals out. He hopes they start doing it again.

"If anybody that would remove a flag off of somebody, I mean, that would be like somebody coming up and taking your flag off your flagpole and burning it for you right there in your front yard," said Beckwith. "That's something that this country needs to put, make it offense and jail them for doing it."

Anyone with information about the theft is asked to call Bangor Police at 269-427-5831.