SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Businessman Alan Bleecker has a very large American flag he believes was stolen, damaged and needs to be returned. He's gone to the public to help find the owner.
It was retrieved recently from a roadside hangout near Highway 101 at Milpas St. exit just before Christmas.
He said it was being disrespected in the condition he found it.
"I didn't even think twice. I saw it on the ground. It wasn't anything heroic or anything it was something that needed to be fixed," said Bleecker. "The American flag is the symbol of our freedom and we need to protect it at all costs."
The area is covered with empty liquor bottles, food cartons and used toilet paper.
"It was a mess it was muddy it was it had all kinds of weeds and everything on it . It didn't look like anyone had used it as a blanket," said Bleecker. "I took it home, washed it, cleaned it up, took all the needles out of it all the pine needles," he said.
He believes the flag that measures about, 7-feet by 11-feet didn't just blow away off of a pole. "It has huge grommets that hold it on . My initial thought was, if somebody stole this, I want to make sure it gets back to its rightful owner ."
Bleecker, who owns Capital Hardware, has it hanging in his warehouse in Santa Barbara as he looks for the owner of the flag.
If that person can't be found he has already be given many other options where it can be flown.