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Confederate flag stolen off Chesterfield flag pole and burned

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Posted at 6:34 PM, Aug 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-18 20:07:57-04

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Residents are on edge after a car was spotted scoping out the neighborhood, and then a Confederate flag was burned.

Andrew Johnson just knew the people inside the white four-door car were up to no good, so he didn't mind yelling at them to leave; after all, it was after one in the morning.

He woke up his mom and dad, and all three watched the car drive past more than a dozen times.

When daylight came Tuesday morning they found their neighbors Confederate flag ripped and burned in their yard.

"I just think knowing they were spotted that it was kind of brazen of them to keep coming through," said Andrew's momTracie Johnson. "They were insistent they were going to take that flag down and that to me is the scary part."

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Ann Tolliver

For Ann Tolliver, it was a long night. Johnson had called her to warn her strangers were in her yard.

She turned on her outside lights but it didn't do any good, neither did the fact that she always burns a blue light in honor of the local police.

"I just don't understand it, what is the purpose of coming on somebody's property, I mean, it's not like it's on the street, not advertising any kind of hate or anything like that," she said.

Tolliver and her late husband have flown both the Confederate flag, and the United States flag above it, for more than a decade. She continues the practice in his honor.

Upset by the theft of the flag, but concerned for her safety because whoever stole the flag, decided to walk up to her front door.

"It's very upsetting, I mean I'm worried," she said. "Are they going to come back again, what other damage are they going to do?"

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The group knocked over landscaping lights, pushed down a windmill and tried to cover up her flood lights as they stole the flag.

Director of the Adria Scharf Richmond Peace Education Center said the country is undergoing a deep cultural shift.

"We believe this is a very important moment," Scharf said. "We believe we should be having these discussions, we should be directly confronting our history."

"We should be having dialogue around these deep divisions that are a result of our region and our country's history," Scharf said.

She added that vandalism and violence are not the answers to the centuries-long division.

Chesterfield County Police are investigating and ask if you have any information about the crime, to call Crime Solvers at (804) 748-0660.