Thief targeting U.S., POW flags

By on December 25, 2019

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! PICO RIVERA – In the 16 months he spent in Vietnam in 1968-69, Army veteran Lou Hernandez lost a lot of his friends.What he saw in battle has always stayed with him.“I came back, but there were a lot of men who did not return or were unaccounted for,” he said.To remember those soldiers who never returned, Hernandez displays an American flag and a POW-MIA flag at his auto repair shop, Mark’s Collision Center, on Rosemead Boulevard in Pico Rivera.But in the past two months, Hernandez said, thieves have stolen six of his flags on three different occasions, even after he moved the flag pole behind a security fence.The most recent theft was last weekend, he said.“I came to work Monday morning and they were gone,” Hernandez said. “This is just not right or fair.”The thefts have puzzled and frustrated Hernandez, who had always flown his flags at his former business, West Coast Auto Body in La Puente, and never had them stolen.Now he’s offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of the flag thieves.“This is a good community,” he said, “but apparently the person who is doing this has never served his country.”Officials at the sheriff’s Pico Rivera Station, where Hernandez filed a report on the thefts, said no arrests have been made.The theft of U.S. or PIO-MIA flags is rare but not unheard of, according to Pete Ramirez, commander of American Veterans Post 1534 in Irwindale. Ramirez said his son’s U.S. flag was stolen from his front yard a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.“It happens. It’s not something that happens all the time, but it does happen,” he said. “It’s probably some kids doing it out of mischief, or somebody who wanted the flags but didn’t want to pay for them.”At $60 per flag, Hernandez figures the thefts have cost him about $360. Despite the cost, he said he’ll again replace his stolen flags, “because I’m an American and proud of what the flags stand for.” [email protected](562) 698-0955, Ext. 3028last_img read more

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