Police in Hudson, N.Y., have solved the mystery of who was stealing American flags from the tombstones of Civil War veterans in the Grand Army of the Republic section in Cedar Park Cemetery.
Around 75 flags were reportedly missing in the days leading up to the Fourth of July. In one night alone, 17 flags were swiped. So the Hudson police set up cameras to catch the culprit.
Turns out it was an ambitious woodchuck snacking on Old Glory. Mayor Bill Hallenback said he’s glad the bandit didn’t turn out to be a resident of the area.
“I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” Hallenback told the Register-Star.
Apparently the flags were coated with a substance that attracts woodchucks. And since woodchucks, also known as groundhogs, are such skilled burrowers, no one saw the thieves in action.
Police Commissioner Gary Graziano was heavily involved with the investigation.
“We patrolled the daylights out of that place since it was going on,” Graziano told the Register-Star. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans. Now I just need to figure out where to send the bills.”
The woodchucks were taking the flags down into the holes for safe-keeping–and possibly dinner.
This case begs the question– How many flags could a woodchuck steal if a woodchuck could steal flags? Now that culprit has been caught, looks like we’ll never know.