When a Missouri teen stole an American flag from an area business, the owner went to social media with a video, caught the thief and decided to handle matters without the police involved.
Bill Hoaglin, a veteran and owner of Beacon Car & Pet Wash, noticed a flag was missing from his establishment and found the incident on his surveillance video early Thursday, Fox 2 News reported.
Hoaglin posted the video to Facebook and the tips started coming in on who exactly the teen was. His name was recovered less than an hour later.
The teen, Keaton Chandler, called Hoaglin and asked if he could return the flag to him, to which Hoaglin agreed.
Instead of filing a police report and seeing the teen with a criminal record, Hoaglin decided to teach the kid a lesson; one of value and respect.
Hoaglin asked Keaton to come to the car wash and pass out mini American flags to each of his customers and Keaton agreed.
Keaton said, “The middle flag, I stole it, I made a mistake. Don’t steal flags, kids.”
Hoaglin said about how he decided to handle the situation, “I just feel this is a better learning experience for the young man and potentially for other people who know he is here doing it.”
Facebook users responded to the story on Fox2Now’s page and most agreed with Hoaglin and his approach to reprimanding the teen.
Stealing a flag falls under traditional theft or vandalism laws, depending on the details of the crime, and in some states, it’s even a felony.
However, that has not deterred thieves from stealing or damaging flags, despite the flags being located in prominent places or in the video of surveillance cameras.
On July 4, an arsonist burned 21 flags that were standing in an annual display to honor veterans at a cemetery in South Carolina.
Last month in Texas, a man walked up to someone’s home and broke their flag right off of the pole before walking away with it, all without knowing that it was captured on video., Law Enforcement Today reported.
The homeowner, who did not want to be identified, said, “This guy tore the flag down from my house. He literally broke the bracket right off.”
The homeowner said he refuses to be intimidated so he bought an even bigger flag and hung it right back outside his house.
Another incident occurred in May when an arsonist burned a flag and part of a truck that it was mounted on. The truck’s owner, Allen Tullar, had mounted the flag on his truck to show support of the military since his apartment complex didn’t permit residents to fly the flag.