JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two homeowners in Mandarin are outraged after the American flags hanging outside of their homes were burned overnight.
Alex Vaysben said he woke up Saturday morning and noticed something was off outside of his home off Hartley Road.
“I saw the little spots that’s on the ground, and I was like ‘that’s kind of strange.’ So I walked out, and found the flag pole this with basically just char on it,” said Vaysben.
All that is left of the American flag that once flew outside of this Army veteran’s home are pieces of burnt plastic. It even charred the flowers underneath.
“Whoever did this. Whatever their logic was, didn’t think to themselves somebody could be sleeping right there next to where I’m setting this fire,” said Vaysben.
He says his video doorbell sensed motion outside the door just after 2 a.m. Saturday, but it wasn’t until he called JSO that he found out that he wasn’t the only target.
Down the street, Bill Kelly made the same shocking discovery.
“I thought it was some sort of grease or something like that, but when I touched it, it was plastic. That’s when I look up and saw the flag had been torched,” said Kelly.
Kelly said he lived in his home for more than ten years and never had a problem. He said he’s extremely frustrated because it could have been worse.
“There’s no reason to be going out and attacking other people’s homes but even more so, they could’ve burned my house down,” he said.
Though these homeowners still wonder why someone would do this, they say whatever the arsonist’s intention, they’re not going to stand down.
“Whoever’s doing this, if their motivation is truly that they’re going to somehow diminish the American flag. This is not the way they’re going to accomplish it,” said Vaysben.
The homeowners say they’re still waiting for the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department to investigate. In the meantime, they hope people will speak up if they see something suspicious in their own neighborhoods.