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Thief steals church's American flags for military heroes, issues apology — but the church is the real star in this story


'I was drinking and had a dumb idea'

Image source: WPMI-TV video screenshot

An unidentified Alabama thief issued a lengthy apology after stealing a church's flag tribute to military heroes — but the church stole the show with its response to the thief.

What are the details?

The incident took place at First Baptist Church in Grand Bay, Alabama, over the Independence Day holiday weekend.

The church had erected a patriotic display of 100 American flags that bore the names of veterans and fallen military heroes to honor the holiday.

The thief, however, made off with several of the flags, but returned them after realizing what he or she had actually done.

In a lengthy message to the church, the person wrote, "I'm sorry for taking the flags. I did not mean any disrespect. ... I was drinking and had a dumb idea. ... I myself do not own an American flag and think they will stop being made soon."

"I had no idea that there were names of fallen heroes, which makes it even worse, as if stealing from the church wasn't bad enough to begin with," the person continued.

The message concluded, "I'm not a bad person, just a little messed up."

What is the church saying now?

Instead of pressing charges against the thief, the church had a better idea: freely forgive the culprit and extend an open invitation to join the church.

A Facebook post from the church and its members — which included a photo of the apology — said, "Praise God our stolen flags from First Baptist Church Grand Bay were returned with a note of apology. We would like to let whoever it was, since you didn't sign your note, know that your apology is accepted and you are invited to attend our Church services anytime."

Patty Webb Tripp

The church's pastor, Royce Dubose, said that the note was "very sincere."

"You can tell whoever took [the flags] was very, very upset with themselves," Dubose added. "To be honest, we don't want to know. And not because we are angry at them, but because we don't want to embarrass them to feel any more remorse than they are already feeling."

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