Teen Steals American Flag, and This Veteran Has the Perfect Patriotic Punishment

A teenager stole an American flag from the Beacon Car & Pet Wash in Pacific, Missouri, but the owner, military veteran Bill Hoaglin, rather than pursuing criminal charges, offered the teenager a more patriotic means to make amends.

19-year-old Keaton Chandler was caught on surveillance tape in the act, so Hoaglin posted the video to social media. Knowing he’d be identified, Chandler called the veteran and offered a weak excuse for his actions.

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“‘I am the guy who accidentally stole your flag,'” Hoaglin recalls the teenager laughably saying. “I said, ‘There’s nothing accidental about stealing.'”

Still thinking he had the upper hand, the teenager offered to return the flag if Hoaglin took the footage off of Facebook.

Patriotic Compromise Rather Than Jail

The Air Force veteran wasn’t about to let him off the hook that easily. So Hoaglin offered a patriotic compromise. He sent his daughter to purchase 150 small flags from a local store, and Chandler, in order to avoid jail time for theft, agreed to pass the flags out to customers.

He worked for five hours making things right.


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“For nearly five hours, Chandler distributed every single flag to customers,” Yahoo reported. “‘He said he would do whatever it takes,’ says Hoaglin.”

Amazing Life Lesson

Followers on Facebook noted that Hoaglin’s actions may have turned the teenager’s life around.

“It’s hard to find honest people who have the character to own their actions,” one person wrote. “Even though he was wrong for stealing the flag, he did good and just might turn out to be a leader in the future.”

“Well handled, and I am glad the young man showed true backbone in fessing up and taking his lesson,” another individual wrote in response to the story.

The veteran reports that he’s actually offered the flag deal to other teenagers who had done wrong, but this young man was the first to take him up on it.

RELATED: Man Alleges He Was Attacked By Mob Of Teens For Wearing MAGA Hat

And, as his grandfather was a Purple Heart recipient during World War II, Hoaglin wanted Chandler to learn that “the flag is more than just a decoration.”

When all was said and done, Chandler offered advice to other teenagers.

“I made a mistake,” he said. “Don’t steal flags, kids.”

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance writer focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been following and analyzing the political climate for several years, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, FoxNews.com and more.

View Comments

  • I hope he learned more than not to steal American flags. He shouldn't steal anything. Also, he should have been made to recite the Pledge of Allegiance to our country's flag before he handed out each flag.

  • The most admirable thing was his calling in first. He obviously wasn't proud of what he had done. Good work Chandler.

  • Don't know how guys in the Army feel about it, but I spent 24 years in the Navy - at no point did I think "Gosh, I wish I had someone working next to me that didn't want to be here - only here because he had a choice between reform school/jail and the service." (No - not referring to draftees, if there were any!)

  • Hey little guy, that was a mighty heroic deed you did. Was your minute of fame all you expected it to be? lol.

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