Cops: American flag filchers will get away with their crimes

America the beautiful: Bay Ridge residents Carmen Joachimsthal, Katherine Khatari, Ali Khatari, and Nasser Khatari display their new flag — a replacement for one which was stolen from their home last month.
Photo by Alice Proujansky

Thieves swiped American flags from the front of three Bay Ridge homes last month — but police say the Old Glory-hating goons will most likely get away with their unpatriotic crimes.

A police source said that the three thefts, which took place on 73rd Street near Fifth Avenue last month, weren’t reported to the 68th Precinct, so no one is actually looking for the hooligans.

If the thieves were ever found and arrested, they would only be facing misdemeanor petit larceny charges based on the cost of the flags, the source explained.

“Whoever took them would probably just get a slap on the wrist,” he said.

The news did little to comfort Katherine Khatari, who had a flag swiped from outside her home on Feb. 16.

“When I came outside and saw my flag was missing I was pissed,” said Khatari, who said her flag was pulled right out of its stand. “Why would somebody do something like this?”

Thieves also swiped flags from two of Khatari’s neighbors: Karen Peet, whose husband served in the first Gulf War, and Skip McNellis, a retired police officer who served in the air force.

McNellis said he was outraged that his patriotism had been violated.

“It’s wrong to take somebody else’s property — especially a flag,” he said.

All the flags were stolen within days of each other, the victims said.

State Sen. Marty Golden (R–Bay Ridge) gave new flags to Khatari and her neighbors during an emotional exchange on Thursday, where he vowed that the thieves would not go unpunished and called on District Attorney Charles Hynes to “prosecute the individuals who stole these things.”

“You can’t steal American flags in Brooklyn and get away with it,” said Golden, who spent $45 of his own money on the new three-foot-by-six foot American-made flags, which came with an aluminum pole and plastic eagle. “It’s just plain wrong.”

There are no specific city, state or federal laws against stealing American flags, a crime which isn’t included in the flag desecration laws that have been debated in Congress for decades.

Reach reporter Daniel Bush at dbush@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-8310. Follow him at twitter.com/dan_bush.

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