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Several American Flags Stolen On Staten Island

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Staten Island residents say someone's been stealing their American flags.

Michael DeRosa said he believes a group of young people ran off with five of them that were displayed on utility poles on Curtis Avenue in West Brighton.

His daughter is a Marine, and the proud father got emotional talking about the stolen flags.

"Very disappointed that there's young people that feel that way," he told CBS2's Cindy Hsu. "The un-Americaness of it is sad."

The flags on the street were bought by a neighbor in honor of the men and women serving in the Armed Forces.

Just a few blocks away, Rick Nieva had to buy a new flag when his disappeared right off his house. But he says he caught the thieves on video.

"So here we have the three kids walking down the block," he describes from the video. "They already have a few flags already with them. They're also carrying these two orange cones with the reflective tape. I don't know if that's to defeat the night vision of the camera. ... He covers his face, then he quickly runs to the flag pole and snatches it out of the holder."

The thief then comes back into camera's view with his flag, picks up the cones and moves on.

"I thought it was very disgusting," Nieva said. "I love this country, and this is the only country, the only place in the world where you could go from nothing to something."

Now he has a spotlight for his new flag and a new security camera with a clear shot.

"No matter how much you try, you cannot stop the patriotism that we feel in this neighborhood and that I feel personally," Nieva said.

Nieva chose not to call police, saying "officers have a lot more important things to do," but he is hoping his flag is returned, no questions asked.

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