OAKLAND, Calif. - An Oakland Army veteran is hoping someone will return the three flags stolen from a flag pole in his front yard.
"All I can think of it's either kids or somebody doesn't like vets," mused a neighbor who goes by the name of Cyrus.
"It makes you wonder about your safety in addition to how disrespectful that is," said Rhys Williams, another neighbor who lives near the Genoa Street home in North Oakland where the flags were stolen.
Late Sunday night or early Monday morning someone hopped the chain link fence at the home and cut the lines holding three flags from the new flag pole in Roderick Williams' front yard.
"I called my wife and said ‘baby, someone stole our flags’," he told KTVU.
Underneath the Stars and Stripes, Williams also flew the black POW-MIA flag, and under that the flag for the U.S. Army's First Calvary Division.
"It's terrible. It really is terrible," said Williams' wife Patricia. "He was heartbroken."
Roderick Williams served eight years in the army from 1976 to 1984. He was stationed in South Korea, West Germany and in the U.S. rising to the rank of Staff Sergeant.
His father and brother were also in the Army and his mother in the Navy.
He told KTVU he's proud of his service, his living room is stacked with photo albums filled with pictures from his military years.
He put up the flag pole last Labor Day, complete with lights to illuminate the flags at night and following proper protocol for their display.
"Why steal a vet's flags?" he asked. "I'm a disabled vet at that. I mean why? What's the reason of stealing somebody else's flags?"
That's a question no one seems to be able to answer.
"I don't know," said the neighbor named Cyrus. "Maybe just some vicarious pleasure in feeling like they're doing something for their country by decorating their room by stealing a veteran's flag?"
"You don't see very many people showing pride in the service that they've given to our country," said Rhys Williams, who has no relation to Roderick. "So I thought it was very admirable that he had the flags flying."
Roderick Williams said he called Oakland Police and had to leave a voice mail but has yet to hear back.
All Williams wants is for someone to return his flags.
He said he doubts the thief or thieves even realize the meaning behind the banners."I don't think they do. They don't even understand the meaning of life."