VIDEO: Arsonist sets fire to homeowner's American flag in Richmond

Arsonist sets fire to homeowner's American flag in Richmond
Published: Jun. 28, 2017 at 2:34 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2017 at 3:43 PM EDT
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Source: Nest
Source: Nest
Source: Nest
Source: Nest

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A Richmond man says the American flag placed in front of his home was burned to a crisp, in the middle of the night, and the whole thing was caught on surveillance video.

It was a typical Wednesday morning for James Tanner, who lives on Floyd Avenue in the Fan. That is, until he checked his "Nest Cam" -- or security camera -- he keeps on his front porch.

"I noticed my flag was missing," said Tanner.

The American flag that used to hang in front of his home was gone, so Tanner looked back at the footage.

"Somebody tried to steal it at 2:15 this morning. and when they couldn't get it off, they burnt it," said Tanner.

The video shows the suspect walking up to the porch and reaching for the flagpole. It looks like he tries to remove the flag but was unable to. He then reaches into his pocket, pulls out a lighter and sets the flag on fire. He leaves as the flag continues to burn.

"I was lucky my house didn't burn down," said Tanner.

Tanner's home is connected to several other homes too.

"You can see here we have three porches all in a row that are all attached," Tanner said. "If one goes up, they are all going to go up," which could have resulted in several injuries or even fatalities had the fire gotten out of control.

"I sleep 15 feet from here, right where the flames were," Tanner said. "If it were to go up, I'd have a difficult time getting out of the house."

The suspect was wearing a horizontally-striped shirt, shorts and a backpack, and he was carrying what appears to be flowers when the crime happened.

No one is in custody at this time. Police say the suspect is at least facing a vandalism charge.

Police are aware of the incident and are investigating this situation.

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