American flag stolen from Tenting World in Anderson and vandalized

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ANDERSON, California.- The American flag, which normally flies in front of Camping World in Anderson, was stolen and destroyed on Monday evening.

The Anderson Police Department returned the flag to Camping World after it was draped over a Cottonwood school with graffiti in some of the white stripes.

Someone cut the inside wire of the flagpole, which caused the flag to collapse and dent parts of the roof of the shop. The flag weighs hundreds of pounds and destroys its own counterweight and lighting on the way down.

The person who stole the flag also left notes on Camping World’s front door that can be found the next morning. They said something about a Cottonwood school that took its American flag and the lack of crosswalks on Gas Point Road as the reason for the flag being stolen.

Jason Danielson and Sean Freyne are both veterans and work at Camping World. To them, the stolen flag felt personal.

“Having someone who may or may not have seen what we did or didn’t do something like that with this flag is very personal and more hurtful than someone who comes up to me and slaps me in the face,” Danielson said. “I think this hurts me more than any kind of physical violence that could happen to me.”

Danielson told me that almost half of Camping World’s staff are veterans, but believes the flag was only targeted because of its size and notoriety in the area.

After posting the flag and notes on Facebook, Danielson and Freyne are grateful for the community support they received.

“People offered me to do a fundraiser,” said Freyne. “We’re not looking for financial support for it, we’re going to raise this flag back in the air and we’re going to fly it high, we’re going to hoist it proudly and we’re going to ‘pray that something like this doesn’t happen again.”

Freyne told Action News Now that it could cost up to $ 5,000 to replace the flag and mast. The flag itself cost nearly $ 2,000 and the pole would require a specialist, which could cost up to $ 3,000.

The flag is brand new to Camping World and only flies two weeks before it was stolen. Freyne and Danielson hope they can remove the graffiti so they don’t have to replace it.

The Anderson Police Department is treating this incident as a crime, vandalism and flag theft.