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The Mystic Liberty Pole on Flag Day last year. | Press file photo.

Liberty pole flag stolen, prompts donations

MYSTIC — For the second time in three months, the American flag on the town’s liberty pole has been stolen.

According to John Kennedy, vice president and member of the Mystic Flag Committee for over 40 years, the flag was stolen sometime overnight, between Saturday evening and Sunday morning, Aug. 16 & 17.

The flag had been flying at half-staff in honor of the Connecticut National Guard Staff Sgt. Ronald Patterson Jr. of Bridgeport, who was killed on Thursday, Aug. 7, on Interstate 95 in Rye, N.Y., while on a routine transport of training material. Kennedy found the theft while at half staff particularly disrespectful.

“This is flag number five that we’ve had stolen in the last 15 years, and now with two in the last three months, we’re going to have to take some extra security measures,” Kennedy said. The flag committee will be meeting later in the week to discuss the matter.

According to Kennedy the flag measured 12-feet by 18-feet and cost about $240.

A number of citizens have made donations, including Mark Densmore of Densmore Oil Company. who has offered a $500 reward for return of the flag and, if it is not returned, will allow use of the funds for replacement flags. “This is the kind of patriotic response that we are heartened to see,” Kennedy said.

A meeting of the Flag Committee will be held this Thursday to discuss improved security measures to deter further theft, and the committee has been contacted by a number of firms knowledgeable in security measures offering to help.

A flag was also stolen on May 9, and Cardinal Honda of Groton donated its replacement.

The present 113 foot tall flag pole is the third of three poles that began flying the flag over the Mystic River beginning in 1862 during the Civil War. Liberty Pole Square also features an historical anchor from a lumber schooner which sank off Cape Cod in 1897.

The Mystic Flag Committee is dedicated to the ongoing oversight of liberty pole and flag, liberty pole square and sidewalk flags.

Anyone with information on the theft is asked to call the Stonington Police Department at (860) 599-4411.

Donations can be sent to the Mystic Flag Committee, 1 Bank Square, Mystic, CT 06355, or can be made online at www.mysticlibertypole. com.

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