21 American flags honoring veterans pulled, burned at South Carolina cemetery

PHOTO: An American flag flies at a grave in this stock photo.PlaySTOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
WATCH News headlines today: July 19, 2019

Cemetery staff in South Carolina returned to work the day after celebrating July 4th to find several American flags pulled from the ground and burned.

The Forest Lawn Memorial Park places 30 American flags on the roadway leading up to its veterans mausoleum every Independence Day, which they call the "Avenue of Flags," Jay Hodge, funeral director for the McDougald Funeral Home, told ABC News.

Cemetery staff discovered on July 5 that 21 of the flags had been stolen and scorched on the property, Hodge said. The remaining flags were left intact in the ground.

Hodge described the vandalism as "unfortunate."

"This has never happened before, but unfortunately there are folk out in the area that just are not very nice and are destructive, so that's what has taken place," Hodge said.

PHOTO: Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Anderson, South Carolina Google Maps Street View
Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Anderson, South Carolina

The damage amounted to more than $1,000.

The funeral home and cemetery have received support from veteran's group and the local community to replace the flags, Hodge said.

"So, they will be put back out, and we will continue to do this each year," he said.

PHOTO: An American flag flies at a grave in this stock photo. STOCK PHOTO/Getty Images
An American flag flies at a grave in this stock photo.

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office is conducting an investigation but has few leads, according to Hodge. The cemetery is not equipped with surveillance cameras, so investigators are attempting to identify the suspects by fingerprints, he added.

A representative from the sheriff's office did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.