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Bicentennial Flag Stolen Nearly 40 Years Ago Is Returned by Mail. Thief Includes an Apologetic Note — and a Shadowy Sign Off.

"I regretted having done this for many years and apologize for my selfishness."

Image source: WMUR-TV

MANCHESTER, N.H. (TheBlaze/AP) — A bicentennial American flag stolen nearly 40 years ago from the top of an observatory has been returned by a remorseful thief.

Image source: WMUR-TV Image source: WMUR-TV

The flag was stolen in 1976 while the Weston Observatory in Manchester was being repaired. Someone climbed the scaffolding and snatched the flag at night, causing an uproar in the community, WMUR-TV reported.

Image source: WMUR-TV Image source: WMUR-TV

The flag was recently mailed to the Manchester Historic Association from Nevada with a note of apology signed by "a flawed son of Manchester."

"I regretted having done this for many years and apologize for my selfishness," the thief wrote. "I have taken care to preserve the flag until I could return it so that it may assume its place as part of Manchester's heritage."

More from WMUR:

In a year of patriotic fervor, the crime scandalized the Queen City.

"William Loeb in the Union-Leader actually wrote a scathing editorial criticizing the theft," said Jeff Barraclough of the Manchester Historic Association.

In that editorial, Loeb wrote, "The Manchester Police Department should launch an all-out effort to apprehend the vandals and bring them to justice."

Manchester police told WMUR they won't be investigating.

The association hopes to keep the flag and put it display or possibly return it the observatory.

"Who knows who it was who did this, but we're just thankful to have it back," said Jeff Barraclough, acting director of the association.

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