Suspect caught on camera burning business’ U.S. flag


A central Fresno business is shocked and confused after seeing their American flag burned by a stranger. The entire act was caught on their security cameras. There are many words employees there are using to describe what happened to their Old Glory — they just want justice served.

Michael Sahakian, owner and dive master at Aqua Sports, noticed the flag was missing as soon as he showed up for work Monday morning.

“I looked up front and I go, ‘Something’s missing,'” he said.

He and other employees then checked their security cameras’ footage and saw what happened from start to finish.

Around 3:30 a.m., a woman, very casually, walked right up to the flag. She pulled it in and out of its slot several times, before taking it to the side of the building.

At another camera, she looks right into the lens several times as she removes the flag from the pole. It seems she fiddles with the flag for a couple of minutes, before finally setting it on fire.

“It’s very disrespectful. Why would anybody have the audacity to do something like this and think that’s okay to do. It’s not your property,” Sahakian said.

The woman walked away for a bit as the flag smoldered, but she then walked back to it. She proceeds to stomp on the flag to put the fire out, grabbed it and then walks away again.

Sahakian believes this is some kind of statement.

“She obviously doesn’t want to live in this country,” he said. “Have the opportunities and freedoms that we all appreciate.”

This crime hits Aqua Sports especially because it has several veterans on its staff. The dive shop also works alongside military at times to train or assist on missions.

Sahakian said Old Glory will be replaced, but he wants this stranger to be the one to pay for it.

“It’s not if, it’s when, she sees the judge,” he said. “I hope there’s restitution, so she actually has to go and purchase a flag and bring it to me. Then she has to do some public service.”

No one at Aqua Sports has ever seen this woman before. Fresno Police is currently in talks with Fresno Fire to see if they would want to take over the investigation. Right now, the case is filed as arson.

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