Flags stolen from church's Veterans Memorial Garden

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ENGLEWOOD, Fla. - A local Minister says a thief not only disrespected his church, but the United States Military.

On Christmas day, a crook stole seven flags from a Veterans Memorial Garden located at the Englewood East Church of Christ. Five of the flags represented the branches of the Armed Forces, one was a United States flag, and the other was a flag representing the church.

The garden was constructed four years ago, and includes benches and plaques dedicated to the U.S. Military.

"It makes me sad to think that we have people living in this community who did this," said Jim Ratliff, the church's Minister, who is also retired Marine. "It breaks my heart to think that people would disrespect the flags the way they did."

The church does have surveillance cameras, but because the crime occurred at 4:30 in the morning, it was too dark to see anything.

"Whoever did it, I would like to say, you need to think about what you did because one of these days, you are going to have to answer for it," said Ratliff.

Ratliff says he isn't sure whether to replace the flags, fearing someone will steal them again.

Anyone with information on the theft should contact the Charlotte County Sheriff's Office.