A $1,000 reward has been raised to $2,500 for information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the vandalism and theft of American flags and POW flags displayed near the Whitfield County Courthouse on Sept. 11. The flags, part of the American Legion’s “Avenue of Flags” display that coincides with national holidays including Patriots Day and Independence Day, were found on Saturday morning in disarray, thrown into trees or bushes, with some damaged or stolen.
The Dalton Police Department began investigating the vandalism incident on Saturday when it was reported to patrol officers. A review of video evidence from the courthouse and the adjacent BB&T parking deck indicates that on Friday, Sept. 10, several vehicles arrived at approximately 10:30 p.m. and drove to the top level of the deck. Several individuals stayed on the top level of the parking deck for more than an hour, hanging out and playing ball. Most of these people left before midnight.
At approximately 2 a.m., there were three vehicles remaining as several people were on skateboards on top of the deck. At this point, three other people arrived on foot at the parking deck. The people went down the stairs at this point and ran to the south side of the deck where they began to throw flags into trees. It does not appear that all individuals present participated. One person in a light-colored hoodie was recorded back in the parking deck skateboarding with a flag over his shoulder.
There are nine flags which are still missing. The approximate value of the stolen and damaged flags is about $800. Investigators are releasing pictures of the three vehicles that were present at the time of the vandalism incident as well as the surveillance image of the suspect skateboarding with the flag over his shoulder. Investigators would like to speak to anyone who was present at the parking deck either earlier in the evening or during the incident even if they were not involved. The investigation indicates that not everyone present participated in vandalism.
Anyone with information or who knows who was present during this incident or who recognizes the vehicles in the surveillance images is asked to contact Detective Clinton Travis at 706-278-9085, extension 9-231. There is a $1,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect or suspects responsible.