Man found guilty of stealing neighbor’s American flags

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach man was found guilty today of stealing his neighbor’s American flags.

John Parmele was facing three criminal charges after his neighbor, Michael Anderson, filed documents in a Virginia Beach court. Both men live on Yawl Point in the Laurel Cove neighborhood off of North Great Neck Road.

“It’s like road rage. It pushed me to the limit, where I did an uncharacteristic-like option, and it’s not like me,” Parmele said after court.

Parmele admitted to taking the flags, and said he took them to the Veterans of Foreign Wars to give them a proper retirement.

The feud started over the proper way to fly the flag. Federal code says flags displayed after sunset should be illuminated. Parmele says he asked Anderson last month to light up the flag that hung from his mailbox. He says Anderson never complied.

“If I have a mission, I go on it, and this one just kind of got out of hand. But he’s not going to change and I’ve got to the point where I don’t think I can change the world. So I’m just going to leave well enough alone, let bygones be bygones, and keep to myself,” Parmele said.

A judge found Parmele guilty of stealing the flags, trespassing and destruction of property. He was ordered to pay a fine of nearly $100 to replace the stolen flags, pay court costs and keep in good behavior for two years.

“It was an expensive lesson. I regret I did it now, but I will not apologize because Mr. Anderson disrespected the flag. He disrespected veterans,” Parmele said.

The judge who found Parmele guilty reminded him, “We are a country that is governed by laws.” She told him he ended up in criminal court because of his own actions.

Anderson declined to talk following the judge’s ruling.

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