MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - Several homes in one Murrells Inlet neighborhood fell victim to theft and vandalism Monday evening. Neighbors who live in the Indigo Creek Subdivision say there are usually no problems, and it's typically a very quiet place to live. But when at least eight residents woke up Tuesday, the American flags outside their homes were gone. At a different home, the flag was still hanging, but it was tattered and destroyed.
"The flag means America. I've flown that flag ever since I was big enough to put up a pole. In fact, when I got out of the Paratroopers in 1952, I put up my first flag," Edwin Herian said.
Not only does the flag hold sacred value, it's a landmark.
"Look for the big American flag on the left and you'll find us," Edwin's wife Joyce Herian said.
But the pole where that big American flag once flew in the Herian's front yard, stood empty Thursday afternoon.
"It's good to come home to see the flag flying and it's such a disappointment to see it's not there," Joyce Herian said.
Up and down Indigo Creek Boulevard stood empty flag poles. But one home got hit harder than the rest. The owner of the home said when he went outside Tuesday morning, his American flag was ripped to shreds. The culprit went the extra effort and tied one piece of the torn flag to a nearby lamppost.
"They're a sick person if they don't understand why we fly a flag in this country," the homeowner said.
If caught, the person responsible faces possible charges of petit larceny, malicious damage to property and trespassing.
Horry County Solicitor Jimmy Richardson said he didn't think there are any federal statutes that these crimes violate. But, some of the homeowners said it's the principle that matters.
"If it was a drunken youngster, I'd like to talk to him for about an hour and then I'd like to talk to his father. But if it's a grown up, I think he should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," one homeowner said.
The Herian family said they will replace the stolen flag this weekend.
"Many battles fought. It represents many hardships on many people, but we still have the freedom to fly it."
Anyone with information on these crimes, should call Horry County Police.