Stolen Harrison Blvd. flags a larceny of liberty

The Grinch who stole Christmas was a fiction.

The theft of 27 American flags adorning light poles along Boise’s historic Harrison Boulevard on the weekend of its 150th Birthday is a truth-is-stranger-than-fiction travesty on the Fourth of July.

A newcomer to Boise, this is my first ‘Fourth’ here and I saw the flags waving Wednesday as I drove along this shady and classic lane in North Boise.

I thought to myself: “Here is a tradition, and a manifestation of some local patriots who get it.” I felt a sense of pride just looking at the flags and I couldn’t wait to point them out to my wife who was flying into Boise today.

That someone would steal them and rob a community of this iconic Independence Day expression is beyond troubling.

What does one do with stolen American Flags that were swiped to spoil the Fourth of July for an entire community?

Who does this?

Stealing the materials that make up a flag is one thing, but it takes some kind of nerve and disengagement to steal the symbol X 27 of the United States on the country’s birthday.

The combined value of the flags, according to police, makes the crime a felony. But in my book this theft approaches grand larceny of liberty.

When apprehended, I hope the perpetrator(s) faces counts for all 50 stars X 27, and in addition to jail time a judge ought to consider 13 stripes of community service raising and retiring flags at public buildings for a long, long time.

My condolences to the neighborhood. Please let the citizenry know where and how to fund a replacement — if possible — and get it up before sundown. Count me in.

Below is the police press release from Boise police:

Thursday, July 04, 2013
Officers Assist Neighbors in Searching for American Flags Stolen from Historic North Boise Boulevard

Boise, July 4, 2013 – Boise Police are investigating a crime that has upset an entire neighborhood this morning – the theft of American flags from the light poles along Boise’s Historic Harrison Boulevard.

“Whoever stole these flags sorely underestimated the meaning and value these flags have to this neighborhood, especially on this day,” said Boise Police Patrol Lt. Dave Burch.

“This neighborhood takes pride in the rich history of their area and displaying the American flags on Independence Day is a big part of that. This crime literally rains on a neighborhoods Fourth of July Parade. We want to find these flags soon and get them back to the residents who take pride in them.” said Lt. Burch.

What Happened: 27 American flags were displayed on the historic light poles in the center of Harrison Boulevard between Hill Road south to Hays Street. All 27 flags are gone. A resident reported to Boise Police that the flags were missing at 8:15 this morning. They had been posted by neighborhood residents on July 2nd and were last seen last evening.

The flags are large, 3′ x 5′ and cost approximately $50 each, making the theft of 27 flags a felony.

The flags were mounted on brackets on the light poles 12 feet high. The Idaho flags displayed next to the American flags were not taken.

At this time, officers believe someone would have needed a ladder or similar device to get to the flags. Because of the height, the flags were not accessible from the ground. It took residents nearly two hours to put the flags out. Officers believe it likely took the thief (thieves) a similar time to take the flags.

Officers and residents have searched the area and so far, the flags have not been found.

Crime Stoppers: Anyone with information is urged to contact Boise Police through non-emergency dispatch, 377-6790 or call Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS. Tips can also be sent to Crime Stoppers via their web site at, or text CRIMES or 274637, subject: Tip236. A citizen can remain anonymous. A reward of up to $1,000 is offered by Crime Stoppers for information leading to the arrest of criminal suspects.

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Posted in Hello Idaho