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Pics: Flags honoring first responders vandalized for 5th time in Massachusetts town

Flags honoring first responders vandalized for 5th time in Hyannis, MA. (Barnstable Police Department/Released)

A $2,500 reward is being offered to help find the vandals who destroyed flags commemorating first responders on the First Responders Appreciation Route 149 Overpass.

The Barnstable Police Department received a call Friday morning from State Rep. Steven Xiarhos, R-Barnstable, to report that all 14 of the first responder flags that he maintains on the overpass were destroyed, according to a Friday afternoon statement from the Barnstable Police Department. 

Flags honoring first responders vandalized for 5th time in Hyannis, MA. (Barnstable Police Department/Released)

Police officers investigated, and determined the flags had been sprayed with an unknown liquid that melted the flag fabric, the statement says.

The Barnstable County Sheriff’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations Unit gathered the flags as evidence for further testing, and the police department is investigating.

The incident marks the fifth time the flags have been vandalized or stolen since being placed on the overpass in 2018, the statement says. 

Flags honoring first responders vandalized for 5th time in Hyannis, MA. (Barnstable Police Department/Released)

Xiarhos, whose foundation, the Nicholas G. Xiarhos Foundation, named after his son who was killed while serving with the U.S. Marines Corps in Afghanistan, pays for the flags. They were replaced on Dec. 22 after the ones that had been there before that had been destroyed.

The flags, each with a different color stripe in the middle, represent police, fire, military, tow truck operators, public works, corrections officers and nurses and doctors, Xiarhos said. 

“It’s disappointing because so many people respect our country and they respect first responders,” Xiarhos said. “This is absolutely wrong.”

Police say there are no known suspects at this time, but a local citizen has offered a $2,500 reward for any information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the offenders. Anyone with information are asked to contact the Barnstable Police Department Tip Line at 508-362-0889 or email Detective Sgt. John York at [email protected]

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