A huge American flag at Hedrick's Chevrolet, visible to drivers on Highway 168, was stolen from the Shaw Avenue dealership sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning, said Clovis police spokeswoman Janet Stoll-Lee.
The theft was discovered about 9 a.m. Tuesday, said Brian Loyd, sales manager at Hedrick's. The company has flown a flag from a pole that doubles as a cellular tower for four years. The flag, measuring 40 feet by 20 feet, was a replacement purchased three months ago, Loyd said.
The silver lining, Loyd said, is that the dealership has received calls from several people wanting to donate flags, including one woman willing to part with a flag that was draped over a family member's coffin.
The flag is worth $800, which puts the theft in the category of grand theft because the value is more than $400.
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Because the flag was large, police believe more than one person may have been involved in taking it down, Stoll-Lee said. Thieves likely covered a light shining on the flag so the theft could not be seen, she said. Loyd said security cameras did not capture the theft.
The flag will be replaced as soon as possible, Loyd said: "We're just trying to figure out a better way to secure it so it doesn't happen again."