St. Paul neighbors looking for answers after American flags stolen from front porches
Jerry Wynn’s American Flag was missing, so the Vietnam-era veteran checked his Ring App to see what might have happened.
“Sure enough, on Thursday morning the 9th, at 4:03 AM, I saw two people coming up onto our steps,” Wynn said.
Two young women were caught on camera.
The first woman is seen on the Ring camera video approaching the porch and suddenly turning away. But then, a second woman comes into view and begins reaching for the flagpole.
“The second one came up and grabbed the flag and walked away,” Wynn said. “It seemed a bit like you’re watching TV rather than you’re watching something in action, happening there.”
Wynn’s flag has been gone more than a week now. He’s scrolled through the video, looking for car lights or other clues, to no avail.
“When you take away the flag from somebody’s yard, it’s as if you’re taking away their own freedom,” he said.
Wynn isn’t the only one. Just doors away, on Frankson Avenue, Stefanie Moradiellos’s house is also flagless.
"I wasn’t sure why somebody would want to take a flag,” she said. “A neighbor of mine about seven doors down posted on the Nextdoor app that his flag was taken that night as well.”
That neighbor turned out to be Wynn.
Moradiellos suspects the same two women may have been involved in the disappearance of her flag.
"It’s just disgusting that people are actually stealing flags,” she said.
For Moradiellos, who comes from a family of veterans, dating back to the Revolutionary War, this was personal. Her missing flag was a special gift from a friend.
"His name was Jean DeCurtains. He served in WWII,” she said. “He was wounded twice in battle. He received the bronze star and he also received a purple heart."
DeCurtains and Moradiellos were friends for a decade before he passed away last August.
He was 100 years old.
"I think it’s sad because to me my flag doesn’t represent any kind of political party,” Moradiellos said. “It represents my love for my country and the people who fought for our freedom.”
There are flags and signs of all kinds in this St. Paul neighborhood: American flags, “Black Lives Matter” signs, pride flags and a sign that reads “Como kindness.”
For Wynn, these are symbols of freedom.
"It’s the country that allows people to put signs out in their yards that nobody can really object to,” he said. “That’s what the nation is all about, the freedom this flag represents.”
Wynn says a third flag on the same street was taken from the home of an Iraq War veteran.
“His flag flew over battalion headquarters while he was in Iraq,” he says.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS checked with the St. Paul Police Department. They say they haven’t received any other reports of stolen American flags.
Wynn says he’s expecting to get a new flag for his birthday in just a few days.
Moradiellos says she’s buying another flag and plans to secure it with bolts to her house.
But she says she’s also looking for answers.
"I would like an apology, and I would like an explanation as to why they stole my flag,” she said. “They came onto my property and they stole my flag, and I would like to know what they did with it.”