When employees at a north-side flooring company arrived for work Monday morning they were stunned to discover that someone had stolen the American flag from the company’s 70-foot flagpole.
“The flag disappeared sometime after 5 p.m. Friday and before 5 a.m. Monday,” said Amy McDaniel, a sales representative for J.R. McDade Flooring Co., 3650 N. Oracle Road, just north of West Prince Road. “Who would steal an American flag?”
McDaniel, 47, filed a police report Monday about the theft. She said the flag brought joy to workers, customers and people passing by the business.
“We just want it back. It is just wrong to do this,” said McDaniel. She said if the flag is returned undamaged no questions will be asked, and the company will not seek that the case be prosecuted.
For McDaniel, Old Glory represents “freedom, being an American and pride.” It was donated to the company last summer by Tucson police officers Charles Foley and Bradley Clark through a project the two founded.
Flags for the Flagless began last year after Foley, 45, who patrols the downtown area, counted more than 30 flagpoles that did not have a flag. Foley comes from a family of military service members, and he approached fellow officer Clark, 55, a 20-year combat Army veteran, for help in the project.
The two asked business owners if they could raise flags on their unused poles, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive, Foley said. The officers, on their off-duty time, have raised about 30 flags, and have increased their goal to include Tucson’s metropolitan area. They plan to raise about 100 more.
Flags for the Flagless receives flags and monetary donations from the public, businesses and American Legion posts. Thus far, it has received about $1,000, and the posts and families have donated flags, Foley said.
“I didn’t think my project would have to deal with replacing stolen flags. It hurts. You don’t steal American flags. If someone would have said, ‘I like that flag. Can we get one?’ But, to steal it. Just give it back. There is a way to get you one,” Foley said.
A Tucson family donated the flag that was placed at the flooring business. Foley said the flag, which is 8 feet by 12 feet, costs about $300.
The flag at the flooring business was not taken down at night because it is too dangerous for workers to safely lower and raise it without injuring themselves, McDaniel said.
Ordinarily, U.S. flags should be displayed only between sunrise and sunset, according to flag etiquette. And, if the flag is displayed at night, it should be illuminated. It was not, but the flooring business is looking into illuminating it with lights it has on its roof, McDaniel said.
Foley said, if possible, he prefers a business to lower the flag at night and then raise it in the morning if the business does not have a light to illuminate the flag at night. However, he said he will not deny a business a flag if it can not be lowered at sunset, or illuminated at night.
On Friday, Foley and Clark plan on assessing the damage done to the flagpole by the thief who cut the rope and damaged devices on the pole to get the flag down. Repairs must be completed before another flag can be raised, he said.