Thief steals Old Glory from Park City’s Field of Flags |

Thief steals Old Glory from Park City’s Field of Flags

Jay Hamburger

Someone stole one of the American flags on display outside Miners Hospital marking Veterans Day, the Park City Police Department said, leaving the organizers of the display and the police displeased that a flag would be taken.

The Police Department logged the theft at 11:20 p.m. on Friday on Sullivan Road, a small street that borders City Park. A brief police report indicated the suspect, a man, was seen riding away on a bicycle. He was last seen in the vicinity of Deer Valley Drive, the report said.

Phil Kirk, a police captain, said an officer on patrol on Sullivan Road saw a man seeming to adjust the flag and then putting it into a backpack. The man left riding a bicycle northbound on a City Park trail, he said. The officer drove through the parking lot, but the bicyclist was gone, Kirk said, adding that the officer did not get a good look at the suspect since it was dark. Four officers unsuccessfully searched for the suspect.

"You would think people would have more respect for veterans," Kirk said.

The Field of Flags outside Miners Hospital involved 150 American flags, creating a sea of red, white and blue contrasting with the deep reddish hue of the historic building. The flags are visible from Park Avenue and other points.

The National Ability Center, Colonial Flags and City Hall have organized the Field of Flags display. The flags were posted last Friday and are scheduled to be brought down on Friday. Veterans Day was Tuesday. It is the second year a Field of Flags has been on display in Park City as part of an annual event.

"I think it’s really unfortunate," said Joelle Kanshepolsky, who manages special projects for the National Ability Center, said, adding, "It’s to honor our veterans and wounded warriors."

The National Ability Center is a Park City-based not-for-profit organization that is best known for offering sports and recreation programs for the disabled. Approximately 30 percent of the people who participate in National Ability Center programs are veterans and their families, according to Kanshepolsky.

She said she is surprised someone would steal one of the flags. The display offers an opportunity to educate Parkites about the importance of Veterans Day, she said.

The president of Sandy-based Colonial Flags, Paul Swenson, said American flags are rarely stolen. The flags on display outside Miners Hospital cost $25 each. The company donated the 3-foot by 5-foot flags on display for the event. Swenson said the company plans to replace the stolen flag with another one as early as Tuesday.

"Maybe they’ll get a conscience and return it," Swenson said, referring to an American flag as something that "symbolizes law and order, freedom."

Officers on Monday afternoon monitored the flags during an afternoon shift, the Police Department said in an online posting.

People with information about the missing flag may contact the Police Department at 615-5500 or the department’s tip line, 615-5847. The department also operates an online tip form,