Police identify suspect in local flag theft

Pennsylvania News

HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Stars and Stripes are once again proudly on display after several flags were stolen last week.

Not only that, but the Hanover Township Police Department has identified a suspect involved with stolen flags in Hanover Township. An outpouring of generosity from the community turned a sad story into a return to glory.

Local authorities say they’re happy to have their flags back where they belong and thankful for a caring community that wanted to right a wrong as soon as possible. Old Glory is back flying high over the Hanover Township Fire department headquarters after it was stolen Wednesday night.

“There’s no reason for that there’s no excuse for it. It was just truly just no common sense,” Hanover Township Fire Chief Joe Temarantz said.

Hanover Township Police say 18-year-old Andrew Gushock and two juvenile males stole the American flag from the Hanover Area High School. They say the two juveniles then stole several American flags from nearby homes.

Police say the two suspects then stole the American flag and firefighter’s flag in front of the Hanover Township Fire Department headquarters. The flags have since been returned. But Temarantz says locals stepped up and donated American flags to replace the one that was stolen.

“It was heartwarming,” Temarantz said.

And each flag came with a story.

“Each and every person who brought one here had a story to tell about where the flag came from. Whether it was their grandfather, their father or just a relative somewhere along the line who fought for the country,” Temarantz said.

The flag they’re flying now was anonymously donated by someone in the community who dropped it off in the middle of the night. Temarantz says the department plans to fly all six of the donated flags, thanking the community for their support.

“It’s overwhelming. American pride runs deep around here and we’re happy about that and we’re proud to be part of it,” Temarantz said.

Temarantz says the department will update their security system to keep a closer watch on the flagpole. He says he hopes the suspects will learn a valuable lesson about the meaning of the flag.

The suspects face charges that include institutional vandalism and theft by unlawful taking. Anyone who had a flag stolen on July 8th is asked to contact the Hanover Township Police Department at 570-825-1254.

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