Vandals have attacked a display of American flags in Downtown Turlock, marring what was to be the exhibit's triumphant return.
The flags were installed by the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association on Sunday, in preparations for the Fourth of July parade. They lasted less than 24 hours, with unknown persons bending about 10 of the flagpoles to the point of destruction overnight.
“It's disgusting,” said Danny Mann, TDPOA Board Member and volunteer who helped put up the flags. “… You try to do something for your community and this is what you get.”
The attempted flag display was the first in three years. In 2010, thieves stole a third of the TDPOA-installed flags, leading the association to temporarily abandon the display until new flags could be purchased.
This time, in an attempt to prevent theft, workers screwed the flagpoles in place. When the vandals realized they could not steal the flags, they apparently opted to break the flagpoles instead.
The broken poles cost about $25 each, Mann said.
“If this is what they're going to do, we're not a deep pocket organization where we just keep replacing them,” Mann said.
TDPOA holiday installations have been targeted before – and not just Fourth of July displays.
During last year's Christmas display, roughly 20 strands of lights were cut by vandals between the Nov. 23 tree lighting and the Dec. 7 parade, Mann said.
The incident has been reported to the Turlock Police Department.