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Condo association shocked by rash of flag thefts

By Staff | Nov 4, 2010

One condominium association in Cape Coral is at a loss.
In little over a week, someone has stolen a set of American flags displayed on the exterior of two condo buildings on three separate occasions — three sets of flags in all, worth an estimated $175 in total. Tom Lehne, president of the Sunward Condo association, does not know what the group can do.
“We’re trying to resolve the doggone thing and I don’t know where to look or what to do,” he said. “It is hurting, the fact that I can’t put the flags up for fear they will be taken again.”
According to Lehne, the association has displayed the flags outside of the buildings, located at 4420 and 4426 Santa Barbara Blvd., for the last couple of years. The flags are for Americanism and to show the association’s pride in present military servicemen and servicewomen and American veterans.
“They’re on the outside, but they’re attached to the building something like 7 feet high,” he said. “They are lighted every night. Each one has a spotlight.”
The first set, a pair of 3-by-5 nylon flags, were found missing Oct. 20. The second pair of flags, the same as the first set, were gone Oct. 28. The third set, made of cotton and less expensive than the others, was gone Saturday.
Lehne explained that a nearby bird bath on the condominium’s property is worth more than the flags, which makes him believe it is not for the money.
“It’s certainly more valuable in dollars and cents than the flags,” he said. “I just personally feel that it was not the money, that it’s either a vandalism, per say, or they don’t like American or don’t like the flags or something.”
Lehne added that the flags appear to go missing between 1 and 6:30 a.m.
Though a small community, the thefts have impacted condo residents.
“It seems like everybody I did speak to,” Lehne said. “They were just very very hurt by the stealing of our beautiful flags, for apparently no reason.”
As of Thursday, the condo association had not replaced the third set.
“We have not put flags up at this time,” he said, noting that the flags are paid for out of the association’s funds. “We do have to watch our dollars and cents.”
Still, Lehne wants to display a pair for Nov. 11, Veterans Day.
“I would like to put two flags up there,” he said.