Turlock resident and businessman Dave Roehrig takes great pride when he looks out the window of his downtown store and sees Old Glory waving majestically in the breeze. Unfortunately, Roehrig’s patriotic spirit has been tampered lately by a series of thefts and vandalism to his American flag.
Over the course of about 15 months, Roehrig said he has had seven flags either destroyed or outright stolen from outside Trinkets to Treasures at 125 S. Center Street.
“I just put up a brand new one on Friday and it was stolen sometime Monday night or Tuesday morning,” Roehrig said. “It’s just sad that we can’t even fly the flag without someone taking it.”
In addition to the thefts, Roehrig said on several occasions he has come to the business to find the flag completely destroyed.
“One time I found one ripped to shreds and thrown on the eave, and it wasn’t because of the weather,” Roehrig said. “I’ve found one on the ground all ripped up and another that looked like someone took a knife to it and tore it all up.”
Roehrig has not reported the thefts or vandalism to the police because he doesn’t believe the police have the time to respond to a low value theft.
Flags also are flown at Al’s Billiards and Rex Klein Insurance Services across Center Street from Trinkets to Treasures, but they have been able to fly free of any interference.
“Years ago I had one problem with someone taking a flag so I moved it higher up,” said Victor Borashan, the owner of Al’s Billiards. “I moved it about a foot up and used a bigger pole and I haven’t had any more problems.”
Rex Klein Insurance had no problems regarding their flag, but did note it is placed higher up as well.
“We also have the added benefit that Al’s has a security guard out front most nights,” Klein said.
For Roehrig the continued theft and destruction of his flags is not only disheartening; it’s getting to be a bit pricey.
“We keep a sign in the store that reads ‘freedom isn’t free,’ and in this case it’s getting pretty expensive,” Roehrig said. “The flags cost about $20 to $25, so to have replaced them so many times, the cost starts to add up.
“It’s getting so that I don’t even want to replace it anymore because I’m tired of them being stolen or destroyed,” Roehrig said. “And that is sad.”