Flags stolen from patriot group

May 15, 2009 4:46:52 PM PDT
They're a band of patriots, showing up in large numbers at funerals of fallen US soldiers. They do it to support grieving families and out of love for their country. But the symbol these freedom riders hold so dear to their hearts has been stolen.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

The Southeast Texas Patriot Guard Riders have become prominent in the last few years, for riding along with the funeral processions of military men and women killed in action. Now, though, they've become the target of a thief, who police think may be looking to make a quick buck.

It's business as usual for the Patriot Guard Riders, greeting soldiers wounded in action at Bush Intercontinental Airport. But the PGR is down about five and a half dozen flags, thanks to a thief.

Rider Lawrence Foster, Jr. explained, "I was going to load them up for a funeral on Friday. Thursday night I went over there to look and 50 American flags on five foot PVC pipes were missing."

Fifty American flags and about 15 or so specialty flags for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines, police department, fire department and more. Foster has flags that belong to him personally on display at his Hempstead home, and didn't think anything of storing the PGR flags under the porch.

"I moved out to Hempstead to be in the country," Foster said. "I never thought anything.... I wanted to live in the country so I could leave my stuff out on the front lawn."

Police say they have no suspects. These flags are worth at least 25 bucks apiece, and that's very possibly the motive, according to Hempstead police.

Investigator Tyrone Valentine said, "July 4th is coming up and you might have someone around town, or somewhere else selling flags for the 4th of July."

In the meantime, the Patriot Guard Riders are making due with the flags they have left, and trying to figure out how to replace the stolen ones.

Both the Patriot Guard Riders and the Hempstead police ask that you call law enforcement if you know anything about the stolen flags.

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