MASTIC BEACH, N.Y (CBSNewYork) — Suffolk County police have released surveillance video of a group of suspects who stole several flags — including one honoring war veterans — from a Long Island park.

The video shows a male suspect boosting a female suspect up on his shoulders next to a flag pole in Osprey Park in Mastic Beach. The woman then grabs the flag pole rope and lowers it down.

A second male suspect with a backpack then grabs two of the flags, leaving an American flag behind. He later comes back to the scene to retrieve the third flag.

“The persons involved are unfortunately are thinking more along the lines of putting a trophy in their bedroom, on the wall, and not the courage and bravery these flags seem to symbolize,” Lt. Christopher Corsini said.

An American flag, a Town of Brookhaven flag and a flag honoring prisoners of war were taken, TV 10/55’s Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.

The incident occurred in August, but police have released the footage now because they haven’t been able to identify the suspects.

“We’ve exhausted all investigative leads,” Corsini said. “Now we’re looking for the public’s help.”

Neighbors visiting the park say it’s an insult to all veterans.

“It’s definitely very disrespectful, towards the veterans and towards anyone who serves in our country,” Alfonso Barone, of Shirley, said. “It’s definitely not the right thing to do.”

Roger Stengel, a former Marine, lives next door to the park. Stengel was particularly proud of the POW flag that served as a reminder to him of comrades lost in combat.

“It hits two ways,” Stengel said. “It’s a disgrace to this country and a disgrace to the people that have given their lives to this country.”

According to police, the theft is a misdemeanor that can carry up to one year in prison.

Police said they have already received some potential leads from the public since releasing the video.


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