Virginia Man Sets American Flag on Fire – But it was Still attached to the House
Shortly after 2 a.m. on June 28, a Virginia man was caught on surveillance video as he first attempted to pick an American flag out of its holder on the front porch of a home in the Fan District of Richmond. Failing that, he lit it on fire. The flag was attached to the home of James Tanner, and could have risked the entire neighborhood. The man, Andrew Rosas, was arrested on Wednesday evening after turning himself in to police.
“He endangered my property, myself, my neighbors. These houses are 115-120 years old. They go up real quick. They’re tinderboxes.” James Tanner to WRIC
Fortunately for the Tanners, the flag was synthetic and simply melted. It literally could have caught their home on fire, and endangered the entire neighborhood. The Tanner’s porch is made of wood.
“This is vandalism and you have somebody that totally disregards the safety of the people around there. It is also totally disregard what the flag represents.” James Tanner to WTVR
One of the family’s neighbors began sharing the surveillance video on Social Media. The entire neighborhood was concerned that their homes could have been at risk if the Tanner home had caught fire.
Here’s neighbor Lars Weichmann’s post before the arrest:
“Let’s bring this guy to justice. Richmond, Virginia friends…..this flag burning could have ended in tragedy for the family inside this home last night. This happened in the Fan District of Richmond (Virginia Commonwealth University area), Wednesday, June 28, just after 2am at 1607 Floyd Avenue near Lombardy. I’m guessing a male of Middle Eastern or Hispanic descent, chin-strap beard, early 20s, 5’7″-5’9″, approx 170, wearing a striped shirt, tan cargo shorts, These are homes built in the late 1800s to early 1900s with dry trees, shrubs, and mulch in front. It’s bad enough he destroyed an American Flag…but this could have caused a massive fire to the home or entire block. I’ll post any reward information that I find.” Lars Weichmann
By Wednesday evening at 10 p.m., the suspect, Andrew Rosas, 26, had turned himself into Richmond Police. He is charged with Arson.
In Virginia, burning a flag is a criminal misdemeanor. But because the flag was still attached to the house, it became a much more serious offense.
Was this a protest of some sort? Or just stupidity? It’s definitely a lack of respect for the property of others and what the flag stands for.