Naugatuck police are investigating the theft of hundreds of American flags meant to honor veterans buried in Saint James Cemetery.
The flags were stolen on Saturday while volunteers from the local VFW post were preparing to replace older flags at the graves of the 1,800 veterans buried in that cemetery, according to police.
The flags are replaced in time for Veterans Day every year.
"To have the flags that we're using to honor our veterans stolen right out from the veterans that are trying to put them on the graves, it was truly unbelievable," said John DeBisschop, chairman of the Naugatuck Veterans Council, the group that supplied the flags. "I can't understand what would possess someone to do it."
Four boxes containing 576 flags disappeared and DeBisschop said the flags are worth about $450.
The Naugatuck Veterans Council had extra flags on hand, so new flags were placed on all of the grave sites before Monday.
Naugatuck police are investigating. So far, there have been no arrests in the case.
"Our ultimate goal is just to get the flags back," said DeBisschop.