Press Club

Arlington police continuing to investigate flag burnings

The person or people who lit flags on fire outside of at least three Arlington homes remains at large.

The first such incident happened on 6th Street S. in the Arlington Heights neighborhood, during the early morning hours of Friday, Oct. 15, and was caught on video (above). A man can be seen walking up to an American flag hanging outside of a home and lighting it aflame, before running away.

“A witness observed the flag on fire and extinguished it,” said a subsequent Arlington County Police Department crime report. “The suspect is described as a White male, 18 – 30 years old, 5’4″ – 5’11” tall and wearing a dark hooded windbreaker, jeans, white sneakers and carrying a backpack.”

Two similar flag-burning incidents happened in northern Arlington neighborhoods between the late night hours of Oct. 27 and the early morning hours of Oct. 28.

From ACPD crime reports:

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2021-10284010, 5000 block of Yorktown Boulevard. At approximately 11:30 p.m. on October 27, the Arlington County Fire Department’s Fire Prevention Office and the Arlington County Police Department responded to the report of a destruction of property. Upon arrival, it was determined that an unknown suspect lit an American flag on fire that was hanging from a single family home. A passerby extinguished the fire with a garden hose and notified the resident. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY (Significant), 2021-10284003, 3300 block of N. Brandywine Street. On October 28th, an online police report was filed for vandalism. The reporting party advised that on the morning of October 28, they discovered their American flag and flag pole had been burned overnight. There is no suspect(s) description. The investigation is ongoing.

In a third incident that night, a resident near the corner of Williamsburg Blvd and N. George Mason Drive that reported her “Keep Virginia Blue” lawn sign was set ablaze, according to the Washington Post and an account on Nextdoor. All three locations are within a few blocks of one another.

There have been no reports of burning flags since then, according to ACPD spokeswoman Ashley Savage. Police and the fire department are continuing to investigate.

“A joint investigation into these incidents is underway by the Arlington County Police and Fire Departments,” Savage said. “As part of the joint investigation, the departments are actively working to determine if the incidents are linked.”

“Anyone with information regarding the incidents is asked to contact the Arlington County Police Tip Line at 703-228-4180 or [email protected],” she continued. “Information may also be reported anonymously through the Arlington County Crime Solvers hotline at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).”

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