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American Flags Found Burned, Police Search For Vandals

WEATHERFORD (CBS 11 NEWS) - Suspects have been taking down flags from outside of homes and burning them. The crimes continue to outrage homeowners in Weatherford. Now the hunt is on for the vandals responsible.

Fire and police investigators looked down and saw the charred outline of the American Flag -- still attached to the pole. The Stars & Stripes had been flying on the porch of a Weatherford home. The incident is the fourth burned flag call Weatherford police and fire responded to Monday.

"This one we just discovered within the hour," said Fire Marshal Bob Hopkins.

Homeowners say they didn't know what was going on. "We just drove up an hour ago and the fire was in the middle of the driveway," explained Rowlee Johnson, who lives at the targeted home. "We had no idea what had happened."

American flags are displayed throughout several northwest Weatherford neighborhoods. Since Friday, seven of those flags have been burned, three overnight Thursday or early Friday.

Flags have been thrown onto driveways and streets and set on fire. At one home, someone lowered a flag and let it burn on the flagpole.

"We had one woman whose two sons are serving in Afghanistan," Hopkins said. "She was very upset because that flag for a lot of people resembles their pride in their nation, their home, everything they believe in."

That mother of two soldiers quickly replaced her flag, as did the other victims.

Weatherford police are left trying to figure out a motive. "With this many [burnings] and the way they're laying out the flags and burning them, it seems like they're trying to make a statement," said Capt. Greg Lance with the Weatherford Police Department.

Area residents are too asking what message the vandals are trying to send, but are also worried that it won't be long before one of the fires gets out of control.

"I would just ask him why he's doing it," Johnson said. "There's no reason to harm other people with what he's trying to do."

Parker County Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to contact Crime Stoppers online or call 817-599-5555.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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