Flags, a 4th of July tradition, stolen from Largo neighborhood

LARGO - With the help of several neighbors, Dina Mietner spent much of Monday night lining several streets in the Bay Hills subdivision with small American flags.  The next morning, much of her work was missing.

"They were all gone," Mietner said.

What was left behind was a mostly empty stretch of sidewalk along Hamlin Boulevard. 

Just a few flags were left behind after thieves plucked about 40 of them right out of the ground, taking with them a big piece of the neighborhood's pride.

"It's un-American in my opinion, it's doggone un-American," said Bob Shiffer.

Shiffer, an Army reserves veteran, was disgusted when he found out so many of the flags were gone. 

He'd spent several hours putting them in place. 

The flags are part of a neighborhood holiday tradition dating back more than a decade.

"Here it is the eve of the most important day in our nation, and there's no flags here," Schiffer said.

What neighbors what to know now is who took them.  Most think the thieves are likely kids.

"I can't imagine any patriotic adult American doing something like this," Mietner said.

Neighbors now have one clear message for whoever is behind the theft: they want their flags back!

"Just bring back the flags by tomorrow (Wednesday) morning and I'll put them up myself, simple as that," Schiffer said.  "That's the deal."

Nearly 250 flags are placed throughout Bay Hills, and neighbors are still trying to get an exact count of how many of their flags are gone. 

They've also filed an incident report with the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

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