Teen’s apology leads to dropped charges for stolen flags

This is not your typical story about teenagers doing bad things. It’s much better than that.

Sure, taking American flags from yards wasn’t the smartest choice for a 16-year-old boy. He and a friend could have faced criminal charges for stealing the flags, part of an Optimist Club fundraiser in Cherokee County.

But on Wednesday, one of the boys did the right thing. He admitted what he did. And he apologized.

In front of the Towne Lake Optimist Club luncheon, the teen admitted to taking the flags and giving one to a friend. Then, he told club members he had lied to detectives when asked about the missing flags. Accompanied by his mother, the teen appeared mature beyond his years as he asked the civic club for forgiveness.

It didn’t end there. The teen also volunteered to help the Optimists with their “Avenue of Flags” event next year by finding new  customers willing to pay $35 to have an American flag displayed at their home or business on six federal holidays.

Optimist Club members, as well as sheriff deputies, attending the luncheon were so moved by the teen’s words and actions, that charges against the teen and his friend will be dropped, Lt. Jay Baker with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said. Seven flags are still missing, but those who have them are asked to return them to the Eagle Watch subdivision clubhouse, no questions asked.

What a refreshing story for this young man, doing the right thing after a criminal act. Surely his parents played a role in his decision to confess to the Optimist Club. But only he could speak the words with the honesty and integrity, impressing those in the audience.

To his father, the boy’s actions to redeem himself are not worthy of celebration. Grabbing two flags was a spur-of-the minute decision, and an admittedly bad one.

Instead, it’s a story about forgiveness. It’s a lesson we can all learn.

11 comments Add your comment

Ted Striker

September 12th, 2012
6:22 pm

Gracious decision by the club and a strong move by the teen. Thanks to law enforcement for going along.

Paul W. Williams

September 12th, 2012
6:24 pm

Good for him- anyone can make a bad decision on an impilse but it takes courage to face the consequences.


September 12th, 2012
6:38 pm

Wow…great story. I wish in this internet frenzied social media world they would print more stories like these.


September 12th, 2012
7:17 pm

Aaaand here come the race baiters. I’m sure you have several examples of a non-white teen apologizing for a petty theft and getting 35 to life.


September 12th, 2012
7:21 pm

I can almost remember being 16…..and so easy to be stupid….so hard to stand up and do the right thing. While we wait for the program next year, there are a multitude of community events that need Teens participation. The more the better.

Crime Time blogger

September 12th, 2012
7:33 pm

We are not identifying this teen nor his skin color, so the racist comments have been deleted. Thanks.


September 12th, 2012
7:53 pm

And so we should celebrate another example of being able to talk our way out of any real consequences for criminal behavior. If you have the name (which I acknowledge can’t be published), I suggest you keep it on file for a couple of years. Dollar to donuts it’ll come up in another crime by the time he turns 18.


September 12th, 2012
8:06 pm

@ Behind… I take it your not a card carrying member of the Optimist Club!!


September 12th, 2012
8:06 pm

Where are the throw-the-book-at- them people? The same ones who complain about our justice system being too lenient.

Doing the Right

September 12th, 2012
8:18 pm

The teens that did this, I hope you’re reading these comments, because what you did examplifies what everyone should do. Yes it was wrong to steal, but more importantly it took courage to confess and went above and beyond to offer your services to give back. Be proud of the conclusion, do not hold a disappointment on yourself for the rest of your life, we all make a stupid choices in our lifetime and we learn from it.

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